Newsletter 09/09

Stockholm, 16 to 22 August, 2009

Stockholm, 16 to 22 August, 2009

Climate change and access to water : Major South African involvement in World Water Week

Since its creation in 1991, the World Water Week, organised by the International Water Institute of Stockholm, has seen increasing success.

More than 60 countries were represented there. Government officials, experts, companies and representatives of civil society attended this event to debate the major problems concerning, in particular access to quality water, share practical solutions and find solutions for the new difficulties created by climate instability.

A prize for water, equivalent to the Nobel Prize, is awarded every year. It was awarded in 20000 [sic] to Professor Kader Asmal, then Minister of Education of the South African government.

This year, the South African Deputy Minister for the environment and water, Mrs Rejoice Mabudafhasi, intervened during the opening session of the work on 17 August 2009 as well as in the major debate of the conference on cross-border water.

South Africa relies on partnerships between the public sector, the private sector and local communities to develop access to quality water in suburban areas and rural regions.

Lastly, the finalist of the Stockholm Junior Water Prize is a team of young South Africans who presented a mechanism for the automatic closing of a tap placed on reservoirs of drinking water, used in rural areas, allowing the avoidance of loss when cans are filled by users. A concrete and effective initiative of young South Africans. In total, more than forty people coming from all horizons travelled from South Africa to attend the 2009 edition of the World Water Week.

A new health policy in South Africa

The government of President Jacob Zuma, established in May 2009, has undertaken to reform the South African public health policy, the defects of which had been highlighted notably concerning the treatment of HIV and AIDS.

The British medical journal, The Lancet, published in August 2008 several studies drawn up by researchers and South African health professionals analysing the first 15 years of the young South African democracy in the field of health.

In conclusion, three major priorities were stated:

- prevention whether for infections (notably HIV and TB), noncommunicable diseases, injury, or for maternal, neonatal and child health (especially prevention of mother-to-chid [sic] HIV transmission and improved newborn health)

- primary health care that is integrated and effective with strong management and capable use of data.

- practising widespread scale up of successful innovations and relevant and rigorous clinical research.

The health professionals in South Africa can rely on the new policy defined by the Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, who, during the presentation of the budget to Parliament on 30 June 2009 had acknowledged that major changes should be made:

" The public health system is forced to carry the ever increasing burden of diseases, obviously made worse by poverty, HIV and AIDS, and other communicable diseases…Let me accepts[sic] and acknowledge upfront that some of the factors contributing in no small measure to the problems the health systems is [sic] carrying, are the following : lack of managerial skills within health institutions ; failure to cut on identified deficiencies ; delayed response to quality improvement requirements ; .inability of individuals to take responsibility for their actions ; poor disciplinary procedures and corruption :…and lastly inadequate staffing levels in all areas. We are going to be facing al these issues head on and we will do so without fear and favour. We owe it to our country that these issues be tackled head on. "

Tri-Nations Rugby

The Springboks still leading. Final result on 19 September after the Tri-Nations last match.

Shows: South Africa in Paris at the Châtelet Theatre

- The Magic Flute of Mozart by the South African actors and singers of the Isango Portobello Company (8, 9, 11, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18 October 2009)

- Mozart played in a township with an orchestration including marimbas, percussion and African choirs. Exceptional.

- Soweto Gospel Choir 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 November 2009)

South African dance and vocal art at the highest level.