Right to Care, together with the Bhekuzulu
Self-sustaining Project and the Mpilonhle Sanctuary Organisation are working
together to offer patients a one-stop shop where they can have all their
chronic conditions seen to in a single visit.
The new integrated Chronic Care Initiative was launched recently
at Uthukela District in Kwa-Zulu Natal.
Optimising available resources
According to Right to Care’s cervical cancer coordinator,
Sibongile Ramotshela, the aim is to reduce the incidence of chronic diseases in
HIV positive patients.
"People living with HIV are at high risk of developing common
cancers, TB, and other non-communicable diseases (NCD's). This is due to the
HIV infection itself and antiretroviral therapy side effects as well as
lifestyle factors," Ramotshela said.
"We aim to optimise the use of available resources and integrate
screening and prevention. Ultimately we are aiming for a single visit approach
which allows patients to have all their chronic conditions reviewed at one
Right to Care is working with the regional and district
departments of Health to scale up awareness, screening and treatment services. Community
women's groups and faith-based organisations are also helping to raise
Poverty and unemployment
Dr Sibongiseni Mbatha of Right to Care said: "The human
papilloma virus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection
and the cause of about 70% of cervical cancers. The HPV vaccination for young
girls is not well implemented in a school health progamme in this area, despite
it being a primary prevention strategy. Furthermore, pap smear screening in
this district is well below the levels required to effectively prevent the
"The national HIV prevalence in South Africa is 29.7%, yet HIV
prevalence here in KZN has reached 40.1 %. HIV and other communicable diseases
and NCD's are also on increase in this province, exacerbated by poverty and
unemployment," she explained.
The programme is being rolled out in three subdistricts of
Uthukela – the Alfred Duma Local Municipality, Ukhahlamba Municipality and the
Nkosilanga Libalele District. – Health-e News.
Image credit: iStock