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New filing system has massive impact on clinic waiting times, reporting and retention in care

The ‘Siyenza Sprint’ campaign (building on the momentum of February Frenzy and March Madness) in Amathole, aimed to increase testing (‘Know Your Status’), strengthen linkage to care (universal test and treat) and support retention in care (to ensure viral suppression).

There was unprecedented support for the Siyenza Sprint (including a provincial road show across all Siyenza districts) and TB HIV Care’s Care and Treatment and HTS teams worked extended hours to ensure that we reached more people with health  care services.

A notable success from the campaign was the complete overhaul of the clinical records filing system at facilities across the Eastern Cape.

Poor records management and inadequate filing infrastructure has negatively impacted on accurately accounting for clinical interventions, as well as on patient waiting times –  given the administrative bottleneck at the start of each clinic visit. Many instances of patient file duplication, missing files and pronounced delays in retrieving records have been noted, especially in high volume facilities.

TB HIV Care undertook an overhaul  of the system and since February 2019 has implemented this key intervention at 35 facilities across three districts over a period of three months.

Waiting times experienced by clients have reduced significantly and the standardised approach has led to more accurate reporting interventions, improving the TX_CURR indicator (number of adults and children currently receiving antiretroviral therapy) by up to 40% in some cases.

The aim is to rapidly scale the intervention to a further 70 facilities in due course as the new system has had a significant impact on clinic waiting times, accurate reporting and, ultimately, retention in care.

 

TB HIV Care heads to the 2019 International Harm Reduction Conference in Portugal

Andrew Scheibe (Technical Advisor), Tara Gerardy (Psychosocial and Opioid Substitution Therapy Project Coordinator), Shaun Shelly (PWUD Projects, Policy, Advocacy & Human Rights Manager), Charity Monareng (Parliamentary and Policy Research Officer) and Julie MacDonell (SA Drug Policy Week/ Psychosocial Principal Administrator and Counsellor) represented TB HIV Care at the 2019 International Harm Reduction Conference in Porto, Portugal (28 April – 01 May).

The event, hosted every two years, brings together harm reduction and drug policy experts from around the world.

On Sunday, 27 April THC co-hosted an INSHU (The International Network on Hepatitis in Substance Users) symposium with the Australasian society of HIV, hepatitis and sexual medicine. Over 80 participants from five continents shared best practice and advances in hepatitis services in harm reduction settings. Andrew Scheibe co-chaired the event and also presented an overview of hepatitis services provided for women who use drugs on behalf of Andrea Schneider (National PWID Project Manager).

Also on the Sunday, representatives from THC participated in Drug Policy Day (hosted by UNITE), which included members of parliament and donors. Charity Monareng (Parliamentary and Policy Research Officer) has been working with UNITE for several months to support the establishment of a Southern African chapter.

It was a busy week. Shaun Shelly (PWUD Projects, Policy, Advocacy & Human Rights Manager) presented at several sessions around harm reduction in South Africa. Andrew Scheibe (Technical Advisor) co-chaired a working group session of the international stimulant harm reduction working group, where Tara Gerardy facilitated a group discussion around community-based stimulant harm reduction services.

Tara Gerardy and Monique Marks delivered poster presentations on the Cape Town and Durban opioid substitution therapy (OST) projects. Monique Marks also presented around the experience of the halting of THC’s needle and syringe service in Durban and subsequent engagement with the city.

Team members also had a range of meetings with global partners (incl. Global Fund and WHO), strategic partners, harm reduction providers as well as potential donors and partners. Both formal and informal sessions allowed for sharing of experiences and networking.

The trip included a site visit, a great opportunity for the team as Portugal was the first country to decriminalise all drugs in 2001. Portugal is an example of the positive impact of drug policy reform and harm reduction (including a significant drop in overdoses, HIV infections and drug-related crimes) – something that TB HIV Care works hard towards achieving in South Africa.

Thanks so much to all involved!

 

TB HIV Care appointed to serve as a sub-recipient for NDOH Global Fund TB activities

On Sunday, 27 January, Katherine Brittin (CSP Programme Manager) flew up to Pretoria to hand deliver TB HIV Care’s NDOH (Global Fund) Notice of Funding Opportunity application – the deadline for application was 28 January 2019.

TB HIV Care was successful in the application and has been appointed to serve as a sub-recipient for the NDOH Global Fund supported TB programmes for the period April 2019 to March 2022.

This is a wonderful acknowledgement by the NDOH of the strength of TB HIV Care as a technical assistance and implementing partner for TB.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the application process and congratulations! A special thanks to Katherine Brittin, who worked tirelessly to coordinate the application, we greatly appreciate the support she provided.