Among other ambitious goals included in SA’s new five-year (2023-2028) action plan for HIV, TB and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), professional nurses could be trained to prescribe pills for mental health conditions like depression and anxiety (under a doctor’s supervision); sex work will be decriminalised; and the HPV jab campaign is to be rolled out to girls at non-government schools countrywide.

Although the South African National Aids Council (Sanac) launched the final plan in Rustenburg on World TB Day last Friday, Health Minister Joe Phaahla will still have to change the Nursing Act regulations to allow nurses to prescribe antidepressants, according to Andy Gray, a senior pharmacology lecturer at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Currently, only general practitioners and psychiatrists can prescribe psychiatric medication in South Africa, writes Joan van Dyk for Bhekisisa…..more