The HIV/AIDS programme in South Africa is our first health initiative to be handed over to a local partner and demonstrates how our work continues to have a significant impact on the lives of vulnerable children long after we have exited. Since taking over in October 2009, our local successor -Kheth'Impilo - has expanded the provision of ART to children and their parents or carers, working to prolong life and ensure children are not prematurely orphaned.
Tens of thousands of new patients have enrolled on life-saving ART medicines since the handover to Kheth'Impilo, fulfilling our vision of setting up innovative programmes that are sustained after Ark has ceased to be involved.
Kheth'Impilo was set up as a national not-for-profit organisation by the former senior management of Ark's South African programme in 2009. It has since gone from strength to strength, and now has a team of 850 using Ark's model of care to work towards an AIDS-free generation. Kheth'Impilo is active in four of South Africa's nine provinces.
Overall 194,000 children were benefiting from ART keeping them or their carers alive (August 2011). A further 68,000 children have been assisted by the programme to claim government grants for themselves or their families, helping to raise their living standards.
Our HIV/AIDS programme in South Africa is our first health initiative to reach maturity. From the outset, Ark's goal was to expand HIV treatment throughout South Africa. We aimed to develop a model of care that could be replicated for rapid growth, working with the South African provincial and local authorities so that the model would act as a catalyst for change and have the biggest possible impact.
Some of the features of our original model have remained central to Kheth'Impilo's operations. For example, the community-based support network for patients with HIV with initial home visits continues to play an important role.
We are extremely proud of the progress made by Kheth'Impilo, who have taken the programme to greater heights. Under the leadership of Dr Ashraf Grimwood they have not only continued to deliver quality care to South African HIV/AIDS patients but also obtained incremental funding from a number of sources.
Our two years of handover funding for Kheth'Impilo ended in August 2011. We wish them all the best as they aim for their vision of an AIDS-free generation.
Kheth'Impilo is a national not-for-profit organisation working with people with HIV /AIDS in high prevalence districts throughout South Africa. The organisation's mission is to support the South African Government's goal of providing high quality, HIV medical treatment across the country, working through the national health system.
Dr. Ashraf Grimwood, CEO of Kheth'Impilo, said:"The good news is that in six short years much was achieved by Ark in South Africa and Kheth'Impilo has since expanded and grown this achievement with over 113,000 patients in care and supporting over 130 sites in a sustainable way."
The organisation continues to be funded by the US Government (PEPFAR). It has also been further supported by funding from The Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria to expand its community programme and support from the Elton John Foundation has helped to implement a pharmacy assistant training programme. Further incremental funding has been obtained from USAID, DG Murray Trustand UNICEF.
Suzy is a 42 year old cleaner. She lives with her two adult daughters and two grandchildren, an eight year old boy and a one year old girl. Suzy also has a baby daughter - Bantu - who is now eleven months old. They all share a one-room shack.
Around two years ago Suzy started feeling unwell. Her local clinic discovered that she was seven months pregnant and HIV positive. Suzy was devastated - the child's father left her and she had to stop working.
Suzy was enrolled in the ART programme supported by Ark. Ark also assigned her a patient advocate to support her. Suzy describes the vital role the advocate played: “I was feeling so bad that my baby would be born with the illness. Nokuthula made me understand that if I followed the clinic's advice rather than taking traditional medicine, there was a good chance that my baby would be born healthy.”
Suzy started anti-retroviral treatment (ART) and her daughter Bantu was born sixteen days later. At 11 months Bantu is free of the virus so far. Thanks to ART, Suzie is feeling stronger again too.Nokuthula also helped Suzy with complex child support grants applications. As a result, Suzy plans to move her extended family of three adults and three children out of the one-room shack to less cramped conditions.
*The names of children and parents have been changed and the photographs may be of other children and parents