Human Capacity Development to address HIV/AIDS in South Africa

 

This CDC-funded project, which ran from 2008 until 2014, aimed at ‘expanding the delivery of HIV and AIDS treatment and care, strengthening systems and improving the quality of care in the Republic of South Africa under the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)’ as one of four South African University Technical Assistance Projects (UTAPS). It addressed a major challenge for the entire health system in South Africa: the need to integrate core curative and preventive activities related to HIV and AIDS with existing health services and programmes.

 

To date new health services have primarily been introduced by providing new protocols with accompanying training. Underlying health systems challenges are rarely addressed, however. These include clarifying roles and responsibilities, strengthening capacity and skills, ensuring supervision, building leadership, morale and motivation.

 

The UWC programme therefore focused on developing approaches and interventions which would strengthen the human capacity within the South African health system, focusing specifically on managers and health, education, and community workers. The project also aimed to support and consolidate the implementation of services at the primary level of care, with a particular focus on HIV and AIDS and opportunistic infections, such as tuberculosis.

 

The programme comprised nine individual projects across three faculties and seven departments, representing a truly university-wide collaboration. It was directed by the Centre's director, Prof Christina Zarowsky.

 

For publications produced from these projects, click here.

For conference presentations and posters, click here.

 

Projects

 

Training health care providers and traditional health care practitioners on collaboration for HIV and AIDS prevention and care


As traditional health care practitioners (‘traditional healers’) provide health-related information and care to a large majority of South Africans, they represent a significant opportunity to influence people’s behaviour and provide care with respect to HIV and AIDS.  Despite being formally recognized as part of the primary health care system, however (through, for example, the promulgation of the Traditional Health Practitioners Bill and the establishment of the Directorate of Traditional Medicine within the National Department of Health), traditional healers are generally overlooked in formal health care planning.  


Working with traditional health care practitioners to promote HIV and AIDS prevention and care was the focus of one of this the CDC-funded project. Led by professors Olajide Oloyede and Diana Gibson from UWC’s Anthropology Department, this project was implemented between 2008 and 2014. Read more....

Download an information sheet about this project.


Addressing TB and HIV through the development of health promoting schools


Health promoting schools (HPS) have been developed internationally and championed by various bodies, including the World Health Organisation, to ensure that the school environment provides a healthy setting for learning and working. Growing a healthy school environment is an intensive process including the capacity development of individuals and the organisation.  As HIV and TB are key issues to be addressed at schools in South Africa, creating a healthy setting includes the development of school TB and HIV policies, skills development, addressing challenges in the school physical and psycho-social environment, developing the school-community network, and facilitating links to appropriate support services.


This project which addressed TB and HIV through the development of health promoting schools focussed on working with school management, teachers and other school staff, learners and parents, as well as the district education and health departments. The intention was to promote collaboration between sectors working with schools; to provide training and consultation to stakeholders working with schools; and to provide policy engagement.  Led by Prof. Patricia Struthers, this project was  implemented between 2008 and 2014 in three Western Cape secondary schools – the first application of HPS approaches to the secondary school setting in South Africa.  Read more....

Download an information sheet about this project.

Related links:

Click here for conference presentations and posters


An HIV/TB educational resource for South African school learners

 

South Africa has a very high proportion of young people who are at risk of HIV and TB. The country is ranked eighth in the world for the number of TB cases, with the Western Cape having the highest number of cases in South Africa. Half of the country’s population (49%) are children and youth under 18 years of age.


An  educational resource for South African school learners was produced through ths CDC-funded projects with a view to developing the capacity of teachers and school learners i to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and TB. The project aimed to engage and educate teenagers about TB in particular, within the context of HIV, supporting them in making decisions about their lives that would mitigate some of the risks of infection. Read more....

Download an information sheet about this project.

 

Improving quality of community health worker programmes for delivery of HIV/ AIDS services

 

National thinking and policy on community health workers (CHWs) has shifted in the last few years as part of a broader process of primary health care revitalization.  A national CHW programme has been developed out of the diverse array of lay workers, many of whom have been involved in HIV and TB interventions.


This CDC-funded orojected aimed at improving the quality of community health worker programmes for delivery of HIV/AIDS services.  Convened by Prof Helen Schneider, it was implemented from 2008 to 2014.  Read more....

Download an information sheet about this project.

 

Molecular surveillance by accurate detection of HIV-1 drug resistance mutations in patients on antiviral treatment in southern Africa: An informatics approach


Scaling up access to antiretroviral therapy (ART) in Southern Africa is a significant undertaking, requiring considerable increases in expertise and skilled implementation. Major challenges to success include monitoring patient adherence and the prevalence of drug resistance. Bioinformatics methods are widely used in developed countries to identify drug resistance mutations in HIV patients on ART, providing the basis for policy and clinical guidelines which advise the clinician when to switch antiretroviral (ARV) drug regimens.


This CDC-funded project was also part of a much larger international project which is developing a web portal which supports decisions for ART regimen switching in resource-constrained environments - where laboratory / molecular markers (such as CD4 count, viral load and resistance mutation data) are not available.  The focus of this component was to develop the capacity of clinicians to use the web portal for management of patients on ART.  The web portal also allows the larger project to monitor and evaluate the prevalence and spread of drug resistance mutation in the southern African population – and the combined efforts of the teams have contributed to reducing the cost of drug resistance testing from $250 to $50.  Read more....

Download an information sheet about this project.

Related links:

HIV & TB Drug Resistance & Clinical Management Case Book (YouTube)

Southern African Treatment and Resistance Network (SATuRN)

 

 

Building capacity to monitor and evaluate HIV care in KwaZulu-Natal

 

Health systems rely on accurate data to monitor and evaluate their services.

 

Building capacity to monitor and evaluate HIV and TB care in KwaZulu-Natal was a CDC-funded project whcich sought to improve the capture and use of HIV- and TB-related data through supporting the secondment of three monitoring and evaluation (M&E) officers to the provincial Department of Health – with a view to improving the capacity of the health system.  Convened by Prof Harry Hausler, it was implemented from 2008 to 2014.  Read more....

Download an information sheet about this project.

 

Strengthening health system through training undergraduate midwifery students in community-based PMTCT competencies


Strengthening the HIV-related capacity of midwives is essential to the South African health sector’s response to HIV and AIDS.
Training nurse-midwives in community-based PMTCT, HIV prevention and management skills and competencies is one of the projects in the CDC-funded programme ‘Human capacity development to address HIV & AIDS in South Africa’ at the Centre for Research in HIV and AIDS, School of Public Health, University of the Western Cape (UWC).  The overall purpose of the project is to contribute to the prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT) through training pre-qualified and qualified professional nurses and midwives in PMTCT competencies – and to mainstream this work in nursing curricula.  Convened by Prof Nomafrench Mbombo of UWC’s Department of Nursing, this project is being implemented from 2008 to 2014. Read more....

Download an information sheet about this project.

 

HIV and AIDS prevention through sports participation


Sports activities provide valuable opportunities for interaction with youth outside of the school environment – including opportunities to promote the prevention of HIV and AIDS.


HIV & AIDS prevention through sports participation was a  CDC-funded project which focussed on developing the capacity of sports coaches, mentors, administrators and organizers in the Western Cape Province with a view to positively influencing youth to make better choices relating to HIV in particular. Convened by Mohamed Adam from the University of the Western Cape’s (UWC) Psychology Department, this project was part of the overall programme at the Centre for Research in HIV and AIDS, School of Public Health, UWC.  It was implemented between 2008 and 2013. Read more....

Download an information sheet about this project.

 

Human resource information systems for district level planning and management

 

The planning and distribution of health workers of various kinds to locations where their services are needed is central to a well-functioning health system.  One of the factors that hampers this planning, as well as the management of health programmes, is the lack of reliable human resource information.  Developing good health programme information systems is a labour intensive and time consuming process, however, and requires that the staff operating these systems are trained and supported.


Human resource information systems for district level planning and management was a CDC-funded projects which aimed to develop a sustainable, decentralized human resource capability to maintain an integrated district-based Human Resource Information Framework for the collection, analysis and use of human resource information.  Convened by Verona Mathews from UWC’s School of Public Health, this project was completed in 2012.  Read more....

Download an information sheet about this project.

 

Provide management and leadership training for new HIV programme managers and human resource managers at the provincial and district levels

 

Many public servants in national, provincial and local government lack the required managerial knowledge, skills and competencies to deal effectively with HIV/AIDS – both in their workplaces and in their engagements with the communities they serve. While the national Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) has produced a Managing HIV/AIDS in the Work Place guide for government departments, there remains a critical shortage of personnel with the requisite skills and competencies to deal with the implications of the pandemic.


Management and leadership training for HIV and AIDS programme managers and human resource managers at the provincial and district levels was a CDC-funded project which imed to improve the capacity of local-level government managers through their participation in a course on ‘Leadership and Management of HIV AIDS in the Workplace’.  Read more....

Download an information sheet about this project.