THE SACBC ART PROGRAM: MEETING NEEDS IN COLLABORATION WITH GOVERNMENT
The SACBC’s ARV treatment program began in February 2004 with funding obtained from Cordaid (Netherlands). Five home based care projects were selected, using a courier laboratory services to do tests, and a courier pharmaceutical supplier to provide ARV’s. This was the first time that ART was provided outside a hospital, clinic or private medical practice – a completely innovative approach, making ART available in remote, resource-poor settings.
In 2004 SACBC was chosen to be the South African implementing partner of AIDSRelief – a PEPFAR funded consortium lead by CRS, providing ART in 9 countries. The SACBC program was expanded to an additional 17 implementation sites, bringing the total number of sites to 22.
The second phase of PEPFAR emphasized local ownership of programs. SACBC was the first PEPFAR program globally considered to have the capacity to be a direct recipient of PEPFAR funding. It began receiving direct PEPFAR funding in March 2009.
SACBC’s intention was to make ART available through Catholic health care facilities to patients who wouldn’t have been able to access ART otherwise. During this period, the government’s ARV roll out began expanding. Where the government began providing ART at clinics near an SACBC ART site, patients were transferred to the government program, and the SACBC ART site was closed down. During this phase, SACBC closed down 12 of its treatment sites, with all patients having been transferred to government. The following sites were closed down (number of patients initiated on ART appear in brackets:
- Thembalethu, Malelane, Mpumalanga (99 initiated)
- Good Samaritan Hospice, Bethulie, Free State (96 initiated)
- Philisa, Bethal, Mpumalanga (584 initiated)
- Bela Bela HIV Project, Bela Bela, Limpopo (780 initiated)
- Sinosizo, Groutville, KZN (417 initiated)
- Sinosizo, Kokstad, KZN
- Bisdom Vigsministerie, Keimoes, Northern Cape (200 initiated)
- St Mary’s Hospital, Mariannhill, KZN (8215 initiated – this site did not close down, but ceased being part of the SACBC ART programme when it became a recipient of PEPFAR funds in its own right)
- Good Shepherd Hospice, Middelburg, Eastern Cape (310 initiated)
- Sizanani, Bronkhorstspruit, Gauteng (1 755 initiated)
- Thabang Society, Parys, Free State (970 initiated)
- Vicariate ARV Project, Mtubatuba, KZN (2 177 initiated)
The second PEPFAR grant was due to end in May 2013. In 2011, SACBC began negotiating with provincial Departments of Health and District Offices in places where it had ART sites, to determine the future of its ART sites after the end of PEPFAR. In the following places where the government had the capacity to absorb SACBC patients, these were transferred to the government, and the SACBC site was closed down:
- Kurisanani (St Scholastica Clinic) Tzaneen, Limpopo (204 initiated)
- Hope for Life, Winterveldt, Gauteng (2 667 initiated)
- Holy Cross Home, Pretoria, Gauteng (653 initiated)
- St Francis, Boksburg, Gauteng (2 463 initiated)
- Inkanyezi, Orange Farm, Gauteng (1 143 initiated)
- Centocow Mission, Creighton, KZN (5 903 initiated)
In places where the government lacked the capacity to absorb SACBC patients (six sites in total), it began providing ARV drugs and laboratory tests to the following SACBC ART sites:
- Tapologo, Rustenburg, North West (4 543 initiated to date)
- Nazareth House, Johannesburg, Gauteng (3 520 initiated to date. Negotiations with the Gauteng DOH are ongoing, but there are indications that they will provide ARV drugs and laboratory tests).
- Siyathokoza Clinic, Botshabelo, Free State (I 629 initiated to date)
- Newcastle ARV Project, Newcastle, KZN (2 522 initiated to date)
- Blessed Gerard Care Centre, Mandini, KZN (657 initiated to date)
- Kurisanani (St Joseph’s Clinic, Sibasa, Vhembe District, Limpopo, and Holy Family Clinic, Mothupa, Mopanie District, Limpopo – 737 initiated to date at St Joseph’s, and 1127 at Holy Family))
SACBC looks back with gratitude at what has been achieved with US government funding. A total of 45 237 patients have been initiated on ART since the program began in 2004.