09 November 2010

5 Years of successful HIV/Aids treatment

Like many rural communities in South Africa, the Dr Kenneth Kaunda District has endured its share of hardship caused by poverty, poor infrastructure and HIV/Aids.


 “When I was diagnosed with HIV four years ago I was worried about how I would manage my condition as I live 18 kilometers from the hospital.

“ Now, because of the Department of Health and BroadReach partnership programme I can go to my local GP for check-ups and receive treatment.

“I don’t have to take time off work, spend money on taxi fares and worry about standing in long queues to collect my medicine.” says Ms Mogalifi, who is from the Dr Kenneth Kaunda District.

Today Ms Mogalifiis one of 46 community members being honoured for their commitment to managing their HIV.

Facing hardships and celebrating success

(In the picture is Dr John Sargent President and Founding Partner of BroadReach Healthcare, MEC for health and Dr Ebrahim Variava Principal Specialist, Tshepong Hospital, Klerksdorp. The two following  patients also receiving their award of recognition.)

Like many rural communities in South Africa, the Dr Kenneth Kaunda District in the North West Province has endured its share of hardship caused by poverty, poor infrastructure and HIV/Aids.

However, the community has a reason to celebrate - the 5th year anniversary of the highly successful North West Department of Health and BroadReach Healthcare GP Down-Referral Programme, currently achieving unprecedented results.

Ms Mmope, Chief Director, Strategic Health Programmes, Department of Health and Social Development, said: “The GP Down-Referral Programme, spearheaded by the North West Province Department of Health and BroadReach Healthcare, is an excellent example of Public-Private Partnership (PPP) and works by leveraging private sector GPs in treatment delivery at a capitated rate.

Funding the programme

Funding is also provided by USAID and PEPFAR, helping to cover critical costs including private sector training, GP consultation fees and patient education.

Since the programme’s inception in 2005 over 1400 HIV-positive individuals have been enrolled, and of those enrolled to date, 91% have undetectable viral loads.

Furthermore, this programme has achieved adherence well beyond that of the African average (60% after 24 months)with 95% of the patients still on treatment after five years. 

“This programme is such a success story in Dr Kenneth Kaunda District that it is being benched marked for rolling out to other districts in the province” said Dr Nagpal, Dr Kenneth Kaunda District Chief Director.

Key supporters

Dr Ebrahim Variava, Principal Specialist, Tshepong Hospital, Klerksdorp and a key supporter of the PPP model said: “The aims of the programme are simple: To initiate and maintain eligible patients on ART; ensure that patients adhere to their medication; support public health facilities in order to expand capacity for HIV management and to provide the highest level of care possible.”

Initially HIV positive patients are enrolled at the Wellness Centre of a public healthcare facility, where they are managed and their condition is stabilised for six months.

They are then given a choice of being down referred to a private general practitioner or a clinic in their local area for continuing treatment.

Should a patient’s condition deteriorate or if they acquire an opportunistic infection, they are referred back to the Wellness Centre for management. Once they are stabilised they are again down referred to the private sector for ongoing care closer to their home.

Dr John Sargent, President and Founding Partner of BroadReach Healthcare said:  “In countries like South Africa, it is paramount that we use all of the resources available to tackle the HIV/Aids treatment challenge.

The North West Province GP Down-Referral programme is not just a self-contained pilot project, but a cost-effective model that could be replicated on a national level. He continues: “Projects like these have the potential to significantly expand capacity. 

We really want to use this opportunity to share our experience with key policy makers in Africa and beyond and inform them about the incredible possibilities of PPP’s.”

(Media Release, November 2010)


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Dr Sindisiwe van Zyl qualified at the University of Pretoria before working for an HIV/AIDS NPO in Soweto for many years. She was named one of the Mail & Guardian's Top 200 Young South Africans in 2012.

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