HIV and TB
Delivering and making primary health care accessible to everyone is not an easy task in rural Eastern Cape with under-resourced health facilities, extreme poverty, inaccessible topography, a lack of even basic services such as electricity, water and sanitation. Even with the developmental gains made since 1994, the historical legacy of underdevelopment is clearly evident in most parts of the province.
The Donald Woods Foundation is addressing this threat with a number of groundbreaking health programmes that bring primary health care to the poorest of communities in the Eastern Cape. The Foundation does this by tackling HIV and Tuberculosis; Diabetes and Hypertension; Maternal and Child Health as part of its flagship health programme – Health in Every Hut.
Drug- resistant TB
Tuberculosis remains the leading cause of death in South Africa, particularly with the country’s high HIV infection rates and co-morbidity between HIV and TB. As one of the poorest and most under-resourced provinces, the Eastern Cape bears a disproportionate share of this burden and is one of the areas worst affected by both multidrug-resistant (MDR-TB) and extremely drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB).
Tuberculosis remains the leading cause of recorded deaths in South Africa according to the 2015 WHO Global TB Report. DWF is partnering with Eli Lilly and United Way Worldwide to tackle MDR-TB in the Eastern Cape by helping the Department of Health (DoH) fight MDR-TB.
Lilly and the DWF are working together to reduce TB transmission by strengthening prevention and control efforts in local clinics, taxi ranks and prisons and mobilising community healthcare workers to bring care to people in their homes and schools.
The DWF Multi Drug-Resistant TB (MDR-TB) Programme deploys health workers at Nkqubela Hospital and at more than 30 local clinics in the greater East London area, where they assist with direct observation of treatment, peer education and setting up and managing support groups.
In addition our peer educators assist with screening and raising TB awareness in Fort Glamorgan and Mdantsane prisons, where overcrowded conditions are prevalent.
In line with the growing threat of diabetes/TB co-infection and co-morbidity, the programme has introduced and trained our health workers to screen for diabetes. HiEH CHOWs also assist Madwaleni Hospital with patient tracing in the Mbashe area of operation and provide crucial follow-up care to help patients to adhere to their treatment regimes.
The Foundation’s health programmes are distinctive in that we have:
- A strong track record of delivery in the field, both in terms of scale and quality. This is rare among NGOs in the Eastern Cape. From 2007 to 2010, DWF delivered the most successful, rural, integrated HIV project in South Africa, achieving a long-term adherence rate of 93.6% compared to the national rural average of 46%.
- Constructed our project base in a deeply rural area where we operate and not in a major city like other NGOs. This is because the Foundation passionately believes in basing itself in and among the communities it serves. The Donald Woods Centre at Hobeni is a four hour drive from East London or a 90 minute drive from Mthatha.