On National Women’s Day, Prof. Harry Hausler (CEO) headed to Johannesburg to speak to the Pan-African Parliament TB Caucus on how parliamentarians can work with civil society to end TB.
Harry presented his ideas about the three key ways civil society can contribute to the response to TB: by implementing services (particularly to hard-to-reach populations), by providing evidence-based information through research, and by advocating to put certain crucial issues on government’s agenda. He noted that the independence of civil society enables it to perform each of these three activities in a manner not possible by government.
The members of parliament present originated from countries across Africa, including Algeria, South Sudan, Cameroon, Guinea, Kenya, Lesotho, the Seychelles and Mauritius.
TB HIV Care was invited to speak at this meeting because of its recent appointment as a secretariat for the soon-to-be-launched SA TB Caucus – a body equivalent to the Pan-African TB Caucus, but made up of South African parliamentarians championing TB.
On the 2nd and 3rd of August 2018, Laurene Booyens (TB HIV Care’s Care & Treatment Programme Manager) and Gareth Lowndes (Chief Operating Officer) held inaugural meetings with Health Systems Trust (HST), permanent staff and affiliated community-based organisations in Mthatha and Queenstown. They were joined on both days by Sibongile Shezi, HST’s National Project Coordinator.
HST is the current district support partner (DSP) for the Chris Hani and OR Tambo districts in the Eastern Cape. From 1 October 2018, TB HIV Care will inherit these two districts as the new DSP, expanding our Care and Treatment Programme into these regions.
Discussions with province, district and HST led to successful initial transition planning sessions. As a result of our new DSP status, TB HIV Care has secured new office space in Mthatha to accommodate the additional staff.
Gareth Lowndes commented: “I am delighted to finally begin direct negotiations with the staff who will provide direct service delivery on October the first. These preliminary engagements are critical, in terms of enabling effective change management, in addition to ensuring a seamless transition of programmatic activities and sustained service delivery to communities.”
Staff blog. Submitted by: John Mutsambi (PrEP Coordinator)
Community peer mobilisers and educators are the most important communication tool for health promotion and uptake of the different HIV prevention options that science has availed.
To hone the skills of these front-line health workers, who are working with adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) in uMgungundlovu (KZN), an intensive workshop on community mobilisation for HIV prevention was conducted from 7-8 May, 2018.
The forum brought together 42 participants, including 27 THC HIV Prevention Programme staff and 15 Girls Clubs mentors from Community Media Trust.
The training started with an overview of the HIV epidemic in South Africa and narrowed the focus to AGYW, highlighting the burden they carry as well as the combination HIV prevention options available to them – which will soon include PrEP.
Thoughtful engagement and discussions on the importance of community mobilisation, the qualities of a good community mobiliser, their roles and responsibilities and how to plan effectively for community mobilisation ensued. During the workshop, a road map detailing the process from community mobilisation all the way through to the provision of clinical and care services was created. The training ended with a reflection on Idowu Koyenikan’s quotation which says, “There is immense power when a group of people with similar interests get together to work toward the same goals”.