GlobalPost Examines Investment In Community Care Workers In South Africa As PEPFAR Moves Toward Local Implementation Of Programming

“Nearly a decade after it came into being, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) … is moving increasingly to support local leadership and implementation capacity” in South Africa, GlobalPost’s “Global Pulse” blog reports. “And given the South African health system’s weaknesses in the face of the magnitude of AIDS and TB, that means an investment in … lay listeners with just a few weeks of training,” who can discuss treatment and other issues with patients, the blog writes. The blog profiles Goodness Henama, “one of 22 community care workers in Wallacedene township, in the Cape Town suburb of Kraainfontein.”

“Serving a mostly unemployed population estimated at more than 60,000 people, Henama and her colleagues are paid 1,800 rand ($220) per month by the Western Cape health department,” the blog notes. “They are trained by Kheth’Impilo (‘choose life’ in Xhosa), a nationwide non-government organization with 1,200 staff members, which received 100 million rand ($8.2 million) from PEPFAR last year,” the blog continues. Ashraf Grimwood, CEO of Kheth’Impilo, “said the charity’s more than 600 community care workers (also known as patient advocates or PAs) around South Africa offer an example of ‘one of the positives’ of the South African HIV epidemic,” according to the blog. ”People too often criticize the Global Fund or PEPFAR, saying the focus on AIDS over the past decade has been to the detriment of the broader health service. This simply is not true, at least for us,” Grimwood said, the blog notes (Smith, 6/20).

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