It was clear that government action was a key aspect of efforts to address the issue of HIV/AIDS in South Africa. With a more stable political environment, foreign aid, and pressure from the international community, the government drafted a framework to address AIDS and expressed the commitment to widen public access to antiretroviral drugs. This constituted an important move since the draft reflected a positive move on the part of the government to commit to actions addressing HIV/AIDS.
The new interim administration in 2008 should steer forward the campaign against HIV/AIDS. Nevertheless, HIV/AIDS is a global problem and South Africa cannot resolve the HIV/AIDS problem alone. Much of the action and direction of planning by the South African government were through the guidance of international collective efforts in combating HIV/AIDS and the stirring of private sector advocacy groups. Of importance to policymaking on HIV/AIDS in South Africa is the United Nations Millennium Declaration, agreed upon by the general assembly in 2000, including South Africa.
The declaration expressed the commitment of the UN member nations to achieve eight goals including the first goal to eliminate poverty and the sixth goal to combat HIV/AIDS, among other health epidemic by 2015. Commitment to this collective goal influenced the initial action plans of the South African government against HIV/AIDS. Then in 2005, the general assembly adopted resolution 60/1, which reaffirmed the commitment of the members to the millennium development goals. (Leipziger et al. , 2003) The Millennium Development Goals (MDG) is a group of eight goals reflecting the targeted action for the common problems faced by countries.
These goals are:
- eradicate extreme hunger and poverty
- achieve universal primary education
- promote gender equality and empower women
- reduce child mortality
- improve maternal health
- combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
- ensure environmental sustainability
- develop a global partnership for development (UNDP, 2003)
These goals led to the identification of eighteen specific targets and forty-eight political, socio-economic and environmental indicators as tools to support the achievement of these goals by 2015. The adoption of these goals represented the reversion to long-term planning as a development approach popular during the 1970s but deserted in the following decades due to the greater focus on short and medium-term goals in many countries to address immediately economic such as the oil crisis and other problems. (UNDP, 2007) This implies that the millennium development goals caused the UN member countries to implement long-term planning strategy in incorporating these goals within their development agenda.
The goals are broad to allow governments to pursue these goals within the prioritization scheme that fits the specific needs context of the countries. This shifted the burden of developing the supporting strategies and implementing policies to the governments (Young, 2005). The millennium development goals comprised of measurable and non-measurable aspects providing the countries with ways of determining their respective progress according to their policies and strategies as well as have a basis for benchmarking compared to their progress relative to other similarly situated countries. Benchmarking also supported inter-country cooperation through information sharing on the best practices of planning for the achievement of these long-term development goals. (Leipziger et al. , 2003) The millennium development goals are target guidelines and the strategy in achieving these goals rests upon the respective governments to develop (Savdeoff, 2004).