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Sep 30
The Health Systems Trust showcases its latest projects at the PHASA Conference

By: Antoinette Stafford Cloete (HST Communications Manager) and Willemien Jansen (HST Copy and Content Editor)

HST in action at PHASA 2022

The 17th annual Public Health Conference (PHASA) was held in Durban from 11 to 14 September this year. The Health Systems Trust (HST) exhibited for the first time since the pandemic and showcased a brand-new stand and Pelebox demonstration unit.

This year's conference had a strong focus on climate change and health and social determinants of health. The Communications and Pelebox teams engaged extensively with conference goers, spreading awareness about HST's mandate and a number of programmes that are currently running.

We had many visitors to the stand including many public health specialists who have a had a long-standing association with HST.

Ronel Visser, HST Director of Health Systems Strengthening with Andy Gray, Pharmaceutical Sciences, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal and Roma Ramphal, HST Differentiated Care Manager

Some of the following programmes were highlights in terms of discussion and hundreds of flyers found their way into conferee bags as takeaways for further reference. We focused on information dissemination on what we call Border Health (full name The Programmatic support for accelerated planning and operational readiness for COVID-19 preparedness and response: Border Health Preparedness Assessment and Country Readiness Plans) which was actually under way in Cape Town during PHASA. It involves a regional assessment of population movement patterns across borders in Southern Africa. The project initially included seven neighbouring countries: Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, eSwatini, Lesotho and Mozambique. The project scope has since been expanded to include Zambia, and partners with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Southern African Development Community (SADC), the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (ACDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Another HST programme that generated great interest was the Cervical Cancer Prevention Action and Control Programme (CCPAC). The lack of adequate cervical cancer services in Zululand District has hindered the development of a sustainable and holistic approach to women's health being built into the district's health systems to improve outcomes for women. The project is aimed at saving the lives of women and girls from cervical cancer – the only preventable cancer, and one which can be easily treated if it is detected early.

The Demonstration of community-based HIV treatment (DO ART) project has been implemented since July 2021 in two KwaZulu-Natal districts with funding secured from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The project entails an exciting real-world application of a model tested through randomised trial that was conducted by the Health Sciences Research Council (HSRC). The project brings together HST's Health Systems Strengthening Unit and Health Systems Research Unit for collaboration in community-based service provision and conducting a study in the community that examines and seeks to resolve some of the barriers to care, as documented from a patients' standpoint.

The Adcock Ingram-funded mini vax campaign piggy-backs off the DO ART programme and 20 Mobilisers are currently engaged in health communication efforts to encourage the uptake of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Pelebox drew a lot of attention and delegates had the opportunity to interact with the Pelebox as real end-users. They could register their details on the system and received an SMS to come and collect their parcel. They were then shown how to operate the Pelebox and received a parcel along with a USB drive and pen.

A conferee collecting their 'medicine parcel' with Natasha Chetty, Business Development Manager, in the foreground

Members of HST's Business Development Unit spent their time networking and identifying possible partnerships while HST Communications and HST colleagues showcased 30 years of experience in health systems strengthening.


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 Content Editor