Why are we there?
- Endemic/Epidemic disease
- Health care exclusion
This is an excerpt from MSF-USA's 2012 Annual Report:
An estimated 5.6 million South Africans live with HIV. The government last year announced that it would adopt fixed-dose combination ARV treatment in the coming years and expand prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) care as well—both positive steps for further treatment scale up.
In KwaZulu-Natal province, meanwhile, MSF is increasing testing and treatment coverage and moving to initiate treatment earlier, which has shown in studies the potential to reduce transmission of the disease. In 2012, staff tested more than 23,000 people, working with community leaders and traditional healers to gain acceptance.
In Khayelitsha township, MSF continued its operational research on HIV and TB treatment and created more community adherence clubs, wherein members visit health centers every two months and help each other stay on treatment.
Surveys showed that 97 percent of club members stayed in care. There are now 180 clubs with 4,500 members in Khayelitsha (The Western Cape Department of Health has also set up more than 400 clubs). Nearly 200 patients also started treatment for DR-TB, which is particularly prevalent in Khayelitsha.
MSF mobile clinics tended to Zimbabweans in South Africa who cannot access medical care. Teams in the border-town of Musina offer basic health care and testing and treatment services for HIV and TB, and teams in Johannesburg provide care and water and sanitation assistance.
At the end of 2012, MSF had 235 staff in South Africa. MSF has been working in the country since 1999.
“Not anyone can join the club. In order to join a club you must be taking your treatment and not miss any dates. So I was able to join the club because my card was clean, because I had been taking my pills regularly.
I wanted to join the club because in a club everything becomes easy. Everything goes quickly. It’s not like at the clinic where you have to wait: you arrive at seven in the morning and then go home at four.
But when you arrive at the club your treatment is always ready for you. You’re given your pills and the people we work with, the people who give us the pills, Sis Ntosh and Sis Fanelwa, are friendly. If you have a problem you can go to them. They’re approachable. And if we have a problem we can talk about it in the group.
If I’m not feeling well, I can ask the facilitator and they refer me to a doctor. After I joined the club I found it more comfortable because I don’t sit for hours and get bored. Neighbors don’t see that I go to the clinic. At the club they try and assist with the privacy of patients."