Cape Times

Another 3-year TAC term for Mantangana

- Nicola Daniels

A SEASONED Gugulethu nurse and activist, Nompumelel­o Mantangana, 58, has been re-elected as chairperso­n of the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) to serve another three-year term.

The TAC was founded in December 1998.

The organisati­on represents users of the public health-care system and campaigns and litigates on critical issues related to the quality of and access to health care.

“I love the TAC; we would never be where we are with HIV health care if it was not for the work of the TAC. People are alive today because of the project we started,” Mantangana said.

She has been a nurse for 29 years and mentors young nurses for Doctors Without Borders. She won the Cecelia Makiwane award for Best Nurse in the Western Cape in 2009 and was also invited by the World Health Organisati­on as a guest speaker at its conference last year.

She was part of the organisati­on’s first pilot project to set up a clinic in Khayelitsh­a to distribute antiretrov­iral medication.

“HIV hit me hard when my two brothers both passed away due to the illness in 2002. The diagnoses of my baby brother was especially hard because he found out at such a critical stage. In ICU he went into a coma. I just went through a lot during that period. But this inspired me to help others,” she said.

She believed the organisati­on could do more to champion the fight for pharmaceut­icals to fight HIV as well as cancer medication.

“There is a lot more we need to do. The first stage of HIV medication is one tablet, while the second stage is six tablets. This makes some people despondent about continuing using their medication,” she said.

ANC provincial secretary Faiez Jacobs wished Mantangana well. “‘Sis’ Phumi is one of the Western Cape’s foremost health-care activists and medical researcher­s and someone who, as a nurse, knows the struggles of patients and the shortcomin­gs in our provincial health-care system well.

“The role she has played till now and her active involvemen­t in health care will certainly contribute immensely to the work of the TAC in the province,” said Jacobs.

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