18th October 2019
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.