Dimbaza Bike Project allows HAST Counsellors to reach more households

The Informal Settlements Programme (IS) provides the comprehensive prevention package (CPP), including TB screening and testing, HIV testing and counselling and STI screening, to contacts of TB cases and community members in three informal settlements in the Eastern Cape: Dimbaza, Duncan Village and Reeston. 

TB HIV Care, in partnership with the Pedal Power Association (PPA), is piloting a bicycle project in Dimbaza Informal Settlement (Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality). The PPA donated three  bicycles to carry out the pilot project, with hopes of expanding the programme should it prove to be a success. TB HIV Care is hoping that the introduction of bicycles will make a significant difference in increasing  the number of households reached and assist with the distance that HAST Counsellors can cover (in order to reach far-flung households). 

The idea was initiated when the IS Programme received funding from dhk thinkspace to allocate to an area described as a ‘limited services area’ – such as Dimbaza. TB HIV Care used these funds to purchase suitable walking shoes for the team (who often walk great distances), and will also support the bicycle project with accessories needed for safety.

The bike handover ceremony took place at Dimbaza Community Health Centre on Friday, 08 February 2019. The event went extremely well, with TB HIV Care staff, Dimbaza CHC staff and community members overjoyed and excited about the project. What excites them most is that Dimbaza CHC is the first facility in the Eastern Cape to pilot this kind of project. If the project is a success there is every chance that it will be rolled out to other areas in the province. Everyone present was singing, sharing traditional songs of praise and rejoicing in the donation of the bicycles. It is worth noting that while the event was happening, delivery of health services to community members continued as normal. 

Many thanks to Nomgcobo Puta (Team Leader: Informal Settlements) who acted as programme director for the day, Zimkhitha Mphati (Project Coordinator: Informal Settlements) who shared the purpose of the day and the background to the project, and all the guests who made it such a special and meaningful occasion. 

The ceremony concluded with HAST Counsellors visiting homes in Polar Park  – demonstrating exactly how they trace and follow-up with household and close contacts of TB index clients. Thank you!

OIG Representatives visit CPUT

Representatives from the Office of Inspector General (OIG) for the US Government are currently being hosted at TB HIV Care’s Head Office in Cape Town.  Their role is to conduct audits linked to work completed in COP16 and COP17 under the PEPFAR (CDC) grant.  The OIG is keen to witness outreaches, conduct site visits and gain insight into processes as part of the 3-week audit.

On Wednesday, 23 January, Jafar A Ballard and Diani Popoca, both senior auditors, accompanied Dr Gareth Lowndes (COO) to the Atlantis VMMC site.  The site played a crucial role in assisting TB HIV Care exceed VMMC targets (162 400) in COP16.  The site visit provided an opportunity to discuss the benefits of Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision, associated process flow and data reporting.

A week later, on the 30th of January, the OIG joined Gareth Lowndes at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT). In partnership with the Department of Education, THC has been complementing CPUT wellness initiatives for about ten years. There are usually four interventions annually and this visit was aligned to orientation week (O-Week).

CPUT has approximately 35 000 students across ten campuses, and the target is to test a minimum of 10% of those students annually.  Sr Bonita (CPUT HIV/Wellness coordinator) estimated the HIV incidence on site was 4%.  The TB HIV Care crew provided HIV testing, TB-screening, PrEP education and condom awareness/distribution on the day. The Department of Social Development was there to talk about gender-based violence and drug use in communities.

The OIG team interacted with TB HIV Care staff, three PrEP ambassadors, as well as CPUT students.  OIG took the opportunity to ask a number of questions, including why students wanted to test for HIV, why they are considering PrEP and their knowledge and experience of HIV within the South African context.  Of eleven young women attending an HIV briefing, seven had previously tested for HIV and knew their status. It was fantastic to see curious students milling in and around the TB HIV Care gazebos and mobile clinic, asking questions, chatting to our team and accessing services. Thank you!

HIV Self-Screening introduced in Amathole

Amathole in the Eastern Cape has been chosen as one of the districts to pilot HIV Self-Screening (HIVSS) within the district. The chosen sub-district in Amathole is Amahlathi.

The five pilot facilities in Amahlathi are:

  1. Peddie Extension clinic
  2. SS Gida Gateway
  3. Kubusi clinic
  4. Frankfort clinic
  5. Komga clinic.

TB HIV Care committed to provide HIVSS test stations to assist clinics with space challenges. The idea behind the test stations is to create privacy for those clients that want to screen themselves in the facility instead of screening themselves at home.

The test stations were delivered to Amahlathi on the 14th of January 2019 by Asanda Jete, Clinical Coordinator responsible for the sub-district. The testing stations were gratefully received by the operational managers. Thank you!