15 May 2010

Health Care Check-up for TB/HIV Care in KZN

Lindiwe Mvusi checks a register during the TB/HIV Care Sisonke District Site Visits

Doctors often advise their patients to have a regular general check-up to keep in tip-top shape. TB/HIV Care Association has taken up this advice for the health programmes it implements and supports in the Sisonke District in KwaZulu-Natal. On the 11th and 12th of May formal visits to several sites were conducted with funders and other partners as part of a regular check-up on the impact TB/HIV Care is having in KZN.

TB/HIV Care’s nurse mentorship programme for example, was put under the microscope to assess its impact on adherence to treatment and the outcomes of that treatment. This mentorship programme was set up to help improve the integration of TB/HIV services in health facilities in the Sisonke District. Five highly experienced nurses - Nurse Mentors - are employed to train and support the health staff in facilities in the areas they are allocated. They also help to supervise the recording and reporting of data. Data collection is important because it keeps a finger on the pulse of what is happening at the facility. If there are problems somewhere in the clinic’s systems, the data will show what is going wrong and where.

The high-powered delegation - including Department of Health representatives from national, provincial and district levels, representatives from the Centers for Disease Control, and TB/HIV Care management - visited four facilities over the two days; a tough programme considering the vast distances between some facilities.

The team divided into four units to evaluate HIV, ART, TB and infection control practices at each facility. The staff at the facilities was interviewed, the registers were examined and several patient folders were pulled at random to check their progress through the clinic’s systems. A feedback session after the visits allowed the team to identify successes, challenges and suggest solutions.
The team was impressed with their observations of a programme that has already garnered praise from academics and researchers, and felt the process of evaluation was so valuable that it should be implemented in other facilities in the Sisonke District. Because of the attention paid to their activities, the clinical staff in the health facilities was highly motivated to continue the progress they have made and to meet the challenges that were identified.

Getting a taste of the medicine it frequently recommends – regular screening for problems - has helped TB/HIV Care Association strengthen its already successful programmes and develop into a healthy organization in great shape!

TB/HIV Care Association, tel: 021 425 0050, email: