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By: Zandile Ngobese (Abaqulusi Sub-District UB Clinical Advisor), Philani Bhengu (UB Quality Improvement Manager) and Dr Nompumelelo Ntshangase (CCPAC Project Manager)
Members of the Abaqulusi UB Outreach Team together with local Community Caregivers and members of the Ntababomvu Clinic Team.
Two outreach teams from the Health Systems Trust (HST) collaborated to support an important Zululand Department of Health (ZDoH) school outreach initiative in February. The event was aimed at HIV case-finding in children and adolescents aged 0–19 years, all in an effort to fast-track ending AIDS by 2023 in line with the UNAIDS 95-95-95 targets.
The outreach teams were from HST's Unfinished Business for Adolescent and Paediatric HIV programme in KwaZulu-Natal (UB project), funded by the ELMA Philanthropies in a multi-year programme that is implemented in collaboration with the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health (KZN DoH) and is part of a UB Consortium comprising CHAI (National Co-ordination), the ANOVA Health Institute and WITS RHI. Also from HST was an outreach team from the Cervical Cancer Prevention and Control Project (CCPAC) that is funded by the Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation and is being implemented under the auspices of a consortium comprising HST, the Zululand DoH (ZDoH), the Cancer & Infectious Diseases Epidemiology Research Unit (CIDERU) of the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), and Genius Quality (GQ).
The teams conducted school HIV Testing Services (HTS) at Gudu Primary which is situated in Zululand's AbaQulusi district. The campaign supported the local Ntababomvu Clinic, where the facility is struggling with HIV case-finding in children under 15.
Custodians of Adolescent and Youth Friendly Health Services (AYFS), HST's Abaqulusi Sub-District Clinical Advisor, Zandile Ngobese and UB Quality Improvement Manager, Philani Bhengu said that such school outreach initiatives are an effective way of reaching this key population. The in-school services provided are:
On the day of the event, after the initial campaign, the team embarked on a further door-to-door campaign, offering free health services to eight families residing in the local Gudu community. None of the six children aged 15 and below tested HIV-positive. Four out of five children above the age of 15 had been lost to care and were linked back to care through contact tracing. The outreach teams also did nutritional screening, following up on health essentials such as clinic attendance, adherence to deworming and vitamin deficiency. For more information on these services, please contact UB's Clinical Advisor, Zandile Ngobese, via Zandile.Ngobese@hst.org.za / 073 345 5167.
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