With what we have come to know as the Covid-19 pandemic one cannot be blamed for having been mistaken into thinking that other serious bodily ailments have gone into oblivion since the majority of focus in the health sector has been placed on combating the covid virus. For some moment some people may have forgotten about the HIV/Aids and its seriousness. Thankfully that cannot be said about the SACBC Aids Office and Misereor who have not forgotten about their aids project.
This has been shown by Misereor’s recommitment to funding the project run by the SACBC Aids office. Misereor is a donor agency of the German Catholics founded by the German bishops. From the 2nd to 4th February 2022, in Pretoria, the Aids Office is running a Program Launch Workshop for all Site Program Managers and representatives of the sponsored Aids sites. There are currently eight sites at which the SACBC Aids Office is running its program. Representatives came from the dioceses of Aliwal North, Bloemfontein, Dundee, Durban, Kroonstad, Pretoria and Manzini (Eswatini).
Present on the first day of the workshop were Misereor representatives Dr Piet Reijer and Dr Desiree. After a brief explanation of what Misereor is Dr Nzansibira congratulated Sr. Colette Sele, the Aids Office Director at SACBC, and her team for the successful approval of the project. He encouraged the workshop participants saying, “The work is starting, so we trust in you to use these resources to the right needs but also to the vision of 95-95-95”. He noted that he trusts that Aids Office will contribute to the vision. “South Africa is clear when it needs to reach the target. The Catholic Church as a representative of a national entity, active nationwide, gives you that possibility to contribute to this vision. But before that you need to be prepared,” added Nzansibira. He emphasised the importance of having expertise and competence in order for one to understand one’s contribution to this vision, and to know where to start and end.
95-95-95 strategy is a percentage target which was set by the department of health regarding the care, support and treatment of those living with HIV by the year 2030. The aim is to have 95% of all people infected with HIV to know their status, and 95% of those who know their positive status should be on anti-retroviral therapy (ART), and 95% of those on ART should have an undetectable (suppressed) viral load. It is said that at the moment the target is standing at 92-75-92 percentage instead of 95-95-95 and the aim is to close the gap.
It was made clear in the overview of the program that the funding for this program is provided on the basis that targets are achieved, and performance against these specific targets is required to be measured and reported. This program will use the AIDS Data System (ADS) for monitoring and evaluation purposes. The ADS uses standardised data collection tools to document direct service delivery. The ADS is a web-based system developed by SACBC AIDS Office and based on real time. Reports can be prepared daily, weekly and/or monthly from the system.
It was in view of this evaluation and reporting also that the workshop was organised and it will focus on financial management, service and job description of the site staff, monitoring and evaluation processes, and Aids Data System training and reporting, among other things.
The South African Government Department of Health (SAGDOH) estimates that there are 2,000,000 individuals that are HIV+ not on treatment. Fundamentally this program is a collaboration between SAGDOH and a faith based organisation funded by Misereor/kze through SACBC to find the “missing” 2,000,000 HIV+ individuals and ensure that these HIV+ individuals receive treatment from SAGDOH . The aim is also to support those that have been found and ensure that they adhere to the treatment program.