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PRESS RELEASE: Traditional and provincial leaders expected to join hands with local women and girls to mark unveiling of anti-GBV memorial wall in Mthatha

1 December 2022

The MEC for Health for the Eastern Cape is expected to join thousands of people at a gathering on December 10 at OR Tambo House for the unveiling of the first GBV (gender-based violence) memorial wall in the Eastern Cape.

The wall is being built right next door to the City Municipality building, Myezo Park in Mthatha district in the Eastern Cape, in memory of the victims in the ongoing epidemic of violence against women and children in South Africa.

TB HIV Care, in partnership with the Eastern Cape Provincial Government, will unveil the memorial wall as part of the annual campaign, 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children. Women and children in attendance will share stories of loved ones who have died at the hands of abusers, as well as some of their own experiences of the violence they live with in their communities.

TB HIV Care is intensifying advocacy and awareness at community level in a bid to bring communities together to fight gender-based violence. The memorial wall aims to serve as a visible, permanent reminder of the fallen victims, but also a place for communities to meet and to rally in their fight against GBV.

The South African Government has urged communities to “challenge cultures and practices that perpetuate gender inequalities and consequent abuse of women and children at personal and societal level”.
According to Statistics South Africa’s ‘Crimes against Women, 2021’ report, more than one in five women in the country (21%) have experienced physical violence from a partner. It is well documented that adolescent girls and young women in South Africa are particularly vulnerable to gender-based violence and also, therefore, to HIV infection. The Human Sciences Research Council Household Prevalence Survey 2019 showed that HIV prevalence among women aged 20 to 24 was three times higher, at 15.6 percent, than men of the same age (4.8 percent).

The UNAIDS (2020) report on the global AIDS epidemic also shows how women in sub-Saharan Africa continue to carry a higher burden than men, accounting for 59% of all new HIV infections in the region in 2019. The burden is even higher for young women, who accounted for 24% of new HIV infections in sub-Saharan Africa in 2019 despite making up only 10% of the population.

Things are not improving for this cohort, with a total of 4,500 adolescent girls and young women (between 15 and 24 years old) in the region infected with HIV every week. Women’s vulnerability to HIV and Aids is multifaceted and shaped by a range of factors including GBV. It is increased by economic insecurity, which often limits a woman’s ability to leave an abusive situation or even to negotiate condom use. TB HIV Care said the province’s support for the building of the wall and the choice of location alongside the OR Tambo House in Mthatha showed the commitment from the MEC and the Eastern Cape Department of Health to ending violence against women and children.

The memorial wall is intended to keep the need to address GBV top of mind. It will also serve to heighten the vigilance of leaders watching over the many vulnerable people living our communities.
It is hoped that it will also serve as a gathering and rallying point for communities to meet and support each other, as well as to educate young people.

TB HIV Care believes that communities can, through a multisectoral approach that “leaves no one behind”, end gender-based violence.
The MEC for Health for the Eastern Cape and other national and provincial dignitaries and members of the media are expected to join members of the local community at an event to launch the memorial wall:

DATE: 10 December 2022
VENUE: OR Tambo House, Nelson Mandela Drive, Myezo Park, Mthatha
TIME: 08h30
For media interviews contact:
Michelle Carey, TB HIV Care, Deputy Communications Manager

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PRESS RELEASE: Aviro Health + TB HIV Care: Increasing the Uptake of HIV Self-Testing in Healthcare Facilities

Aviro Health + TB HIV Care: Increasing the Uptake of HIV Self-Testing in Healthcare Facilities

Scaling up digitally supported self-care through the Aviro Pocket ClinicPlatform.

Tags: #digitalhealth #socialimpact #telehealth #healthtech #innovation

Cape Town, South Africa: Aviro Health is pleased to announce the successful partnership with TB HIV Care in the Eastern Cape, South African. This partnership will allow Aviro Health and TB HIV Care to increase the uptake of HIV self-testing in healthcare facilities by availing testing booths and tablets to improve patients’ testing experiences. The key is accessibility. That is why Pocket Clinic can now be found in TB HIV Care healthcare facilities in the Eastern Cape – taking screening and testing closer to people.

TB HIV Care is a non-profit organisation dedicated to improving TB management by increasing access to TB and HIV diagnosis, care, treatment, and community-based adherence support. Their integrated approach to dealing with both TB and HIV issues has made them a trailblazer in implementing a comprehensive system of support for TB and HIV clients.

The availability of Pocket Clinic in high-volume TB HIV Care facilities means that clients will no longer leave healthcare facilities without being tested or attended to.

TB HIV Care healthcare workers are also looking forward to Pocket Clinic speeding up the implementation process, allowing them to meet higher targets and move closer to the 95-95-95 goal.

“This release was particularly important as it launches Pocket Clinic’s offline functionality – a big need in African healthcare, especially with electricity and connectivity shortages. This came as a specific need to use Pocket Clinic in mobile HIV/TB testing clinics – taking screening and testing closer to people.” –Dr Musaed Abrahams, CEO of Aviro Health

To date, the platform has been validated in trials assessed by leading universities, Johns Hopkins, Wits and UCT. Since its inception, digitally-assisted, self-testing in booths has attracted people who don’t usually test (especially males), improving testing rates at facilities by 50%. Thus, Aviro Health looks forward to contributing to community-based testing in the Eastern Cape, to see HIV testing become a widely accepted norm.

Aviro Health is a leading African digital health company using empathy, design, and technology to improve and scale counselling and patient support.


World Hepatitis Day event ‘Storytelling for Advocacy’ gives voice to those impacted by a disease that kills 200,000 every year

To mark World Hepatitis Day, organisations from across South Africa are teaming up to raise awareness of viral hepatitis, which kills 200,000 people across Africa every year. A virtual event – Storytelling for Advocacy – will shine a spotlight on the people impacted by viral hepatitis, and demonstrate the power personal stories can have on advocacy efforts and policy change.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), dying from viral hepatitis in Africa is becoming a bigger threat than dying from HIV/AIDS, malaria or tuberculosis. Chronic viral hepatitis affects over 70 million Africans (60 million with hepatitis B and 10 million with hepatitis C).

In South Africa, there are an estimated 3.4 million people with hepatitis B and 400,000 people with hepatitis C (HCV). An estimated 82,500 people inject drugs – the primary way that HCV is transmitted – with HCV prevalence in some cities over 90 per cent.

“Hepatitis B infection is preventable via vaccination,” explains Dr Andrew Scheibe, technical advisor at TB HIV Care in Cape Town. “And there are treatments available for hepatitis C that have a 95 per cent cure rate, although these Direct Acting Antivirals (DAAs) are unfortunately not yet available in South Africa.”

The event will be held virtually at 8.30am South African time Monday 25th July 2022 (three days before World Hepatitis Day). It will last for 90 minutes and aims to tackle one of the main drivers that stop people at risk of viral hepatitis accessing treatment and care.

“People most at risk of viral hepatitis tend to be from very marginalised communities and face high levels of stigma and discrimination,” explains Angela McBride, director of the South African Network of People Who Use Drugs (SANPUD). “The endemic will not end, until the stigma and discrimination which stops so many from seeking healthcare, ends too. We hope that by sharing the voices of those impacted, we can start to break down these barriers.”

Led by the International Network on Health and Hepatitis in Substance Users (INHSU) and held in collaboration with TB HIV Care, the virtual ‘Storytelling for Advocacy’ event will give people with lived experience of using drugs and/or living with viral hepatitis, the chance to share their stories.

Partners of the event include The South African Network of People Who Use Drugs (SANPUD), South African National AIDS Council (SANAC), the South African Central Drug Authority (CDA), the South African Department of Social Development, the South African Department of Health, South African National Aids Council (SANAC), alongside organisations from Kenya.

Other speakers include:

  • Award-winning South African storyteller Mathapelo Mofokeng, who will help organisations and individuals understand the power of storytelling, and how personal stories can influence advocacy efforts and facilitate policy change
  • Dr Kgomotso Vilakazi-Nhlapo, Viral Hepatitis Lead, National Department of Health, South Africa
  • Koketso Mokubane, Peer, South African Network of People Who Use Drugs, South Africa
  • Wamda Abuelhassan, Gastroenterologist, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Dr Andrew Scheibe, Technical Advisor at TB HIV Care
  • Plus, more to be announced from Kenya

“This event builds on a range of activities that INHSU has delivered with partners in South Africa since 2020,” explained Nikitah Habraken, acting executive director of INHSU. “These coordinated advocacy efforts are so important in raising awareness of the inequalities facing people who use drugs and ensuring that viral hepatitis elimination efforts stay on national agendas.”

The free-to-attend virtual event is open to physicians, nurses, community workers, policy makers, program managers, people with lived experience, advocates and anyone with an interest in the health and wellbeing of people who use drugs.

Register here:

More information:

  • For South Africa specific interviews please contact Phumlani Malinga, Communications Department at SANPUD
  • For images, general enquiries, or interviews with the International Network on Health and Hepatitis in Substance Users please Brooke Nolan on: