2021 News

‘Working it’ for PrEP through the Bereka Girl campaign for sex workers

The Bereka Girl (translated to English, it means ‘Work, Girl’) campaign encourages sex workers to enrol in a cellphone-based support programme during the first three months of their PrEP journey. Sex Worker Programme teams have found the first few months to be the hardest to retain sex workers on PrEP. A USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data)-based loyalty programme was therefore developed to help sex workers stay on PreP and HIV negative.
Sex workers who start PrEP enrol on the Bereka Girl programme by dialling a number, and following some prompts, similar to the process used to check an airtime balance on a cellphone. They then receive a daily sms offering support for the first 14 days of their PrEP journey, as well as sms reminders when it is time for any appointments. The first three months of their PrEP journey are also incentivised.

The Bereka Girl campaign evolved from being a mechanism to incentivise PrEP uptake and adherence to it being utilised as a monitoring tool to assess the sex workers journey through PrEP – when the sex workers drop off from PrEP, case managers are dispatched to provide adherence counselling.

PROCUREMENT TENDER: THC/NDOH-07/2021-01: Appointment of a service provider to supply food parcels

The National Department of Health (NDoH), through its Sub Recipient (SR), TB HIV Care (NPO) requires the services of a supplier to provide food parcels to TB patients. The NDoH has appointed TB HIV Care, an SR, to issue the tender on behalf of the grant. TB HIV Care will handle all communication in this regard.

The selected supplier will be expected to supply food parcels within two districts: Cape Town Metro and eThekwini from 01 Sept 2021 – 28 February 2022 (6 months).

Potential bidders are invited to submit a quotation for the procurement, supply (including packaging) and delivery of food parcels that will be delivered to TB patients within the eThekwini and Cape Metro districts

Tender Reference Description Closing Date
THC/NDOH-07/2021-01 · Food parcels to be supplied from 01 Sept 2021 – 28 February 2022 (6 months).

· Western Cape: Cape Metro district (3131 units)

· KZN: eThekwini (1149 units)

23 August 2021 @ 17:00

The full terms of reference, including detailed specifications can be downloaded here.   Interested parties are invited to submit bids to tenders@tbhivcare.org on or before the 23 August 2021 (17:00).

For enquiries, please email tenders@tbhivcare.org by the 20 August 2021.  A non-response to questions will be actioned three days prior to the closure of the bid – 20 August 2021 (17:00pm).

Terms of Reference (Food Parcels) vGL3

Does ‘just saying no’ to drugs and alcohol work for young people


Date: Tuesday, 17 August 2021
18:00 CAT
Hashtag to use: 
Moderating account: 
Topic: Does ‘just saying no’ to drugs and alcohol work for young people ?

Join us for a 60-minute session with our panel experts. All stakeholders including healthcare workers, abstinent and the public etc. locally and globally are welcome. The public transcript will be recorded by Symplur.

T1: Is drug use morally wrong? Why?

T2: What are some of the reasons people take drugs or use substances?

T3: Do you think rehabs are the only solution for PWI/UD who wish to be healthy?

T4: What is Harm Reduction? Are there benefits to Harm Reduction over abstinence-based approaches?

T5: What are some of the barriers that prevent youth from accessing Harm Reduction services?
CT: What more can be done to keep youth who take drugs safer and healthier?


Start your answers with T1, T2, T3, T4 or CT for transcript purposes.
Answer only after the moderator prompts. Questions will be prompted every 10 minutes, but keep answers coming using the relevant T and number. Both panel experts and public attendees are encouraged to participate.
Use the #TBHIVCare hashtag in all tweets so you are visible to others in the chat.

Everyone is welcome to join locally and globally. Our transcript will be recorded on www.symplur.com.Are campaigns that urge young people to ‘just say no’ to drugs and substances an effective strategy to keep them healthy and alive? Some research suggests they aren’t[1]. An alternative approach, harm reduction, that focuses on safer usage rather than abstinence, may be more a realistic strategy.


Substance use (alcohol and illicit drugs) affects youth around the world. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) states that surveys around the globe consistently show that levels of drug use are higher among younger rather than older people[2]. Episodes of heavy episodic drinking (binge drinking) were also found to much higher among youth aged 15-19 (11,2%) than the rest of the adult population (7,5%)[3].

Since alcohol is estimated to cause 3 million deaths a year worldwide and the use of illicit drugs can lead to overdose and death, many public health interventions have promoted abstinence as a way to promote health. An alternative approach that does not require that young people refuse any and all alcohol or illicit substances is called ‘harm reduction’.

Harm reduction can be defined as a set of practical strategies and ideas aimed at reducing the negative consequences associated with drug use, it can also be defined as a movement for social and health justice built on a belief in respect for the rights of people who use drugs.

Harm reduction services, for example, might ask young adults to consider ways they can make their substance use safer – whether that is using with another person present so that they can call for help in the case of overdose, or being careful to use reliable suppliers of substances, or designating a sober driver in a group so that the risk of traffic accidents is minimised.

Harm reduction services focus on keeping young adults who use substances healthy and alive rather than preventing substance use itself.

Harm reduction services do not encourage substance use but allow young individuals to make their own choices with the support of the right strategies.

While often a challenging idea at first, harm reduction can lead to behaviour change among youth that keeps them alive, although not necessarily drug or alcohol-free.


[1] Jenkins, E. K., Slemon, A., Haines-Saah, R. J. 2017. Developing harm reduction in the context of youth substance use: insights from a multi-site qualitative analysis of young people’s harm minimization strategies. Harm reduction Journal, 14:53.

[2] World Drug Report. 2018. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

[3] Global status report on alcohol and health. 2014. World Health Organization