Our work in South Africa
Though one of Africa’s strongest economies, the HIV epidemic has taken a severe toll on South Africa’s workforce. It has also left 1.2 million children orphaned and shows no signs of abating.
South Africa has the second highest HIV rate in the world, with an estimated 5.5 million people HIV-positive. In KwaZulu Natal, the infection rate is a high as 39.1%. Hospitals are now struggling to cope with the number of HIV-related patients. A recent study estimates that HIV-positive patients will soon account for 60-70% of medical expenditure in South African hospitals.
South Africa is also the fifth-worst TB-affected country in the world. This crisis is worsening as some strains of TB are now resistant to standard treatments. The outbreak of extensively drug resistant tuberculosis in KwaZulu-Natal detected in early September 2006 underscored the lethal combination of HIV and TB in South Africa, where as many as 60% of adult TB patients overall are also infected with HIV.
There is a critical shortage of health workers, especially in rural areas, where 72% of the population lives. While there have been some improvements in health care services, many clinics still lack basic equipment, drugs, tests for HIV and TB and essentials like piped water and electricity. 70% of the population in rural areas first consults with traditional healers when falling ill yet the health care system does not fully collaborate with them in health care delivery.
Amref Health Africa is:
- Improving cure rates for TB and promoting the integration of HIV/AIDS and TB services in Eastern Cape.
- Providing care and support for children orphaned and made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS including mentoring, counselling, and ensuring their education and other rights in Limpopo and KwaZulu Natal Province.
- Training and supporting traditional healers to respond to the challenge of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases and closing the gap that exists between the healers and the formal health care services in KwaZulu Natal.
- Training and mentoring community-based organisations providing HIV-prevention and care and support services for people with HIV in Limpopo.
On the 11th of June, which was World Population Day, Dr Connie, Dr Muia (UNFPA), Dr Mohammed (Wits University) and Dr Senkubuge (Uni of Pretoria) were part of a discussion panel for the Health Talk Show which airs on the SABC News channel (Channel 404 on DSTV).