Human rights discourses around the provision of antiretroviral drugs to HIV positive pregnant women in South Africa: implications for social work

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dc.contributor.author Tesfamichael, Misgina Gebregiorgis
dc.date.accessioned 2008-09-09T08:05:16Z
dc.date.available 2008-09-09T08:05:16Z
dc.date.issued 2008-09-09T08:05:16Z
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10539/5619
dc.description.abstract The study explores pertinent issues around a comprehensive provision of antiretroviral drugs to HIV positive pregnant women in South Africa from a human rights perspective. Although these drugs have been proven to significantly reduce the transmission of HIV from a pregnant mother to her newborn baby/babies at birth, the South African government for over five years refused to roll them out in the public health sector. Reasons that were provided in this regard were multifaceted and have included claims regarding their alleged toxicity, potential side effects, huge cost, inadequate infrastructure, etc until March 2004 when it announced to start a national rollout program. It is in light of this that the study sets out to explore some of the key positions within the government and amongst activist groups on the health rights of HIV positive pregnant women, and how these different positions have evolved in response to each other. In particular, the paper aims at examining how discourses of human rights were employed, and how they have impacted on the Social Work discipline. It further focuses on developing a Social Work perspective on the human rights of HIV positive pregnant women in South Africa, thereby contributing to the discipline’s professional value base and body of knowledge, which inform, inter alia, its advocacy role and social action approach. The research project was embedded in a theoretical framework often referred to as ‘standpoint research’. An archival study of local and international literature and policy documents was conducted. This was complemented with a limited qualitative study. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a purposive sample of five interviewees representing a cross-section of positions on the topic. This data was analyzed using a three step coding procedure that allowed for categorizing, connecting, and systematically relating the gathered data to each other and to the reviewed literature. The research findings indicate that the South African government’s absence of consistency and apparent lack of political will to rollout the drugs have contributed to the deterioration of the right of HIV positive pregnant women to access health care services. The role of civil society organizations in helping to realize, promote and protect the health and related human rights of this group is emphasized. It was also found that the different strategies employed to this end speak well to Social Work’s value base, and some of its methods and approaches to practice. Social Work is therefore well placed to join and support those efforts of other segments of civil society that have been investigated in this paper. The paper concludes by making recommendations towards, inter alia, the need for the South African government to adhere to the values enshrined in the country’s Constitution; to work closely and transparently with different organs of civil society; and simultaneously implement the said ARV rollout program while building and strengthening its infrastructural capacity. The various roles Social Work could, and should, assume with regards to improving the human rights of HIV positive pregnant women in this regard are also highlighted. en
dc.language.iso en en
dc.subject Antiretroviral drugs en
dc.subject HIV positive pregnant women en
dc.subject HIV infections en
dc.title Human rights discourses around the provision of antiretroviral drugs to HIV positive pregnant women in South Africa: implications for social work en
dc.type Thesis en


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