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TB HIV Care Voices: We need to walk in our service users’ shoes

Staff blog. Submitted by John Mutsambi (HIVP (Prep) Technical Lead)

This year’s World Aids Day theme was ‘Know Your Status’ and it was aptly chosen given that UNAIDS estimates that more than 9.4 million people living with HIV do not know their status.

This message – know your HIV status – applies to everyone including healthcare workers. By seeking HIV testing, I believe that we contribute to raising the profile of HIV testing services and also to securing public confidence in the healthcare system. Modelling this behaviour could, as I see it, help increase demand for HIV testing.

This conviction prompted me to commemorate World AIDS Day 2018 by getting tested for HIV. Guess where I sought the test? From our TB HIV Care mobile wellness clinic in Dunoon.

Wearing my blue TB HIV Care T-Shirt, I approached the mobile van where, Fezeka Mfengu (HAST Counsellor), a young, energetic and rather shy counsellor, welcomed and invited me into the mobile clinic with a broad smile. After the greeting etiquette, she got down to business which started with pre-test counselling, seeking my consent for the test, then screening for tuberculosis, sexually transmitted infections and other non-communicable diseases. All this was followed by the HIV test which gave results in 15 minutes. I could feel my heart pounding as each minute passed by, but the feeling that I was doing the right thing comforted me. This short waiting period put me in the shoes of those who seek our services.

On receiving my HIV test result, post-test counselling, which included information on HIV prevention, was conducted. The counsellor followed the national testing algorithm to the letter. Her caring attitude and the service I received showed me that Fezeka is walking in the shoes of our service users. These are our counsellors!!! Thank you for contributing to taking our organisation to great heights of success.

World AIDS Day Event: Khayelitsha

TB HIV Care joined The City of Cape Town, the Department of Health and a group of Khayelitsha NGOs (including MSF, SWEAT, Grassroot Soccer, Desmond Tutu) in Khayelitsha on Friday, 30 November for a World AIDS Day event at the Solomon Mahlangu Hall.

The national theme for World AIDS Day is Cheka Impilo, Know Your Status. The event celebrated health, wellness, community and positive choices while encouraging residents to #KnowYourStatus under the Department of Health’s ‘Cheka Impilo’ and ‘SheConquers’ campaigns.

There was an amazing atmosphere at the Hall (due in part to fantastic performers and speakers) and highlights included:

  • A march from MSF’s offices at the Isivivana Centre in Khayelitsha to Solomon Mahlangu Hall – led by a drum majorette group
  • A jazz performance from The Institute for Music and Indigenous Arts Development (IMAD) learners – who were brilliant
  • Music, dance and other performances – including Zip Zap Circus
  • 5-a-side soccer tournament

Many thanks to our HTS teams who provided free testing, screening and other health checks on the day. And a massive thank you to Ndumi Mtshiselwa (PP Prev Coordinator) who proved to be the perfect MC!

Special mention to Michelle Carey (Deputy Communications Manager) who worked so hard to make this event happen.

TB HIV Care’s Sex Worker Programme given green light to supply ART and PrEP in Dr Kenneth Kaunda District

On Monday, 26 November, TB HIV Care’s Doctor Kenneth Kaunda (DKK) Key Populations – Sex Worker Programme site was assessed for its capacity to provide antiretroviral therapy (ART) and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).

Key assessment objectives included:

  • To assess the facility in the quality management of HIV and TB
  • To assess implementation of the NSP HIV, STI and TB guidelines
  • Assess the data management system, including proper data collection, recording, analysis and reporting
  • To assess the drug supply and management system: planning, forecasting and reporting
  • Support the facility in identifying programme strengths, weaknesses and opportunities – and making appropriate recommendations for improvement of ART/ PrEP service delivery

The site was visited by Hasina Subedar, Eva Marumo (NDoH), Keitheng Matlapeng (North West Provincial DoH), Paul Motlhaoleng and Anna Malaudi (Matlosana District DoH). They were received by Mfezi Mcingana (TB HIV Care’s Key Populations Programme Manager) and the DKK team. A successful assessment was conducted and accreditation was granted for both ART and PrEP implementation for the site.

The TB HIV Care DKK team would like to thank the DKK District and the NW Provincial Department of Health for their continued support of the programme.