On Wednesday, Western Cape Premier Alan Winde, who is also the Chairperson of the Provincial AIDS Council, announced that he would undergo an HIV test and the associated counselling, in the run-up to World AIDS Day. The aim was to encourage people to take responsibility for their health, and find out their status
TB HIV Care were invited to be a part of the event and were represented by Prof Harry Hausler (CEO), Ellenize Harribi (Professional Nurse Counsellor), Glenn Bradley (Internal Communications Coordinator) and Anelisiwe Piliso (Communications Intern). Media present included the Cape Argus, and Cape Town TV.
Ellenize set up the testing environment, conducted the pre-test counselling and oversaw the testing process. The test was administered by the Western Cape Minister of Health, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo.
Dr Nomafrench reiterated the purpose and message behind the occasion.
“The message today is not about the outcome, whether you are positive or negative. The purpose is about getting tested.”
Prof Harry Hausler was interviewed by Cape Town TV and was asked about general HIV statistics and HIV self screening. He had the following to say about the event:
“It’s really great to see the leadership in this province being involved in speaking about HIV and raising awareness about it and leading by example by getting tested for HIV.”
Before February 2019, at Holy Cross Gateway Clinic, everyone was waiting. Nurses were waiting for more than two hours for patients to come to their consulting rooms, while at reception, patients were also waiting – on average five to six hours. But a deceptively simple filing solution, and a lot of hard work, cleared the bottleneck, restoring an efficient workflow to the clinic.
Holy Cross Gateway Clinic, a clinic in South Africa’s Eastern Cape, identified a blockage in their patient flow at their clinic reception. There it could take up to 20 minutes to find a single patient’s file. In addition, 85% of their patients were seen without a facility-held clinical record because of an inadequate filing system, made worse by broken filing cabinets. Files were stored according to ART start month and year and Health Patient Registration System (HPRS) records were not used.
During the ‘February Frenzy’ campaign driven by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), TB HIV Care supported the facility to make the following changes:
Old clinical records were converted to new HPRS records – patients were registered on the HPRS system with each patient having an HPRN.
A local service provider was hired to repair the broken filling cabinets.
Three additional data capturers were hired to fast-track the process of HPRS registrations and filing into the cabinets according to HPRN.
Box filers were used to arrange files in the cabinets using the HPRN.
Professional nurses started using patient appointment books in each consulting room to record patient appointments. When generating an appointment list there are 3 additional columns to control the flow of files in the facility – (file retrieved, file captured and file filed back). These are ticked off at each step.
Allocation of data capturers – one data capturer is allocated as a supervisor on a monthly rotational basis, to oversee all administration department duties. A second data capturer is allocated to capture National Health Laboratory Services results and complete HIV testing services registers. The second data capturer also assists at the registration desk, issuing files to patients who have honoured their appointment dates and those who present themselves without an appointment (retrieving files from the filing room).
The new filing system means that files take less than a minute to retrieve. The average patient waiting time at the clinic reduced from five to six hours to between 40 and 50 minutes. The appointment system has meant patient files can be retrieved the day before their consultation, meaning their file is ready and available when they arrive for their appointment. Nurses can now see patients from early morning with no delays, while the patients’ experience of the clinic has also vastly improved.
Yesterday, the 17th October, non-profit organisation TB HIV Care celebrated 90 years of existence by inviting honoured guests and key partners to its annual general meeting and charity auction at the President Hotel. Due largely to the donation of a William Kentridge print, the charity auction raised R88 350 for a project providing educare services to children who are hospitalised with TB at Brooklyn Chest Hospital.
TB HIV Care was founded in 1929 to care for TB patients sent to sanatoria, as well as their families left behind. Since then, TB HIV Care has evolved to include HIV and is now dedicating to preventing, finding and treating TB, HIV and other major diseases.
CEO, Prof Harry Hausler reported on TB HIV Care’s achievements in the period (April 2018-March 2019), which included supporting 4 258 adolescent girls and young women and 1 435 sex workers to start pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) – a pill which if taken daily, prevents the acquisition of HIV.
During the year, the organisation has tested 911 184 people for HIV, mainly in the Eastern Cape, Western Cape, and KwaZulu-Natal.
TB HIV Care is the Provincial Support Partner for the Eastern Cape, and as such has undertaken initiatives to overhaul clinic record keeping systems. This in turn, decreases waiting times for patients at the clinic, as well as identifying patients who require follow up care (resulting in some instances in a 40% increase of people receiving treatment), and improving the ability of clinics to keep them in care. The initiative has been rolled out in 35 facilities across three districts and will scale up the intervention to 70 more clinics in due course.
The guest speakers included the newly appointed United States Health Attaché, Dr Sophia Siddiqui who congratulated TB HIV Care on reaching the 90-year milestone. TB HIV Care receives significant funding from the United States through the President’s Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
Minister of Health for the Western Cape, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, also addressed the guests. She reminisced about her first interaction with TB HIV Care, when she went along with one of the organisation’s mobile teams on an outreach to provide health services to sex workers.
Hon. Sibongiseni Dhlomo, Chair of the Portfolio Committee on Health (National Assembly), and the Co-chair of the SA TB Caucus, was one of three members of the SA TB Caucus present, the others being Hon. Lindelwa Dunjwa, and Hon. Tshilidzi Munyai. The SA TB Caucus is a collective of South African parliamentarians committed to championing the political action in the response to the TB epidemic. Last year, TB HIV Care acted as secretariat to the caucus.
Prof. Harry Hausler, CEO of TB HIV Care, thanked these speakers, attributing TB HIV Care’s longevity in part, to the role of partnerships with key individuals and organisations.
“We understand that the key to achieving sustainable change in health systems is to work with all stakeholders. This includes government, academia, civil society and affected communities. One of TB HIV Care’s strengths is that we are rooted in the communities we serve – many of our staff are also community members and peers.”
The evening concluded with the auction of artworks donated to raise money to ensure that children under five who contract TB and are hospitalised at Brooklyn Chest Hospital are not confined to their cots for the duration of their stay. Instead, ensuring this critical time of development, they are provided with mental and physical stimulation through educare.
The centrepiece of the auction, a William Kentridge print (one of 15), was sold for R75 000.