Holy Cross Home, Pretoria signs new agreement with the SACBC AIDS Office
Theresa Bossert and Sr Alison Munro of the the SACBC AIDS Office visited Holy Cross Home in Suiderberg, Pretoria and signed the new agreement for the final year of the PEPFAR funded treatment programme. The Holy Cross Sisters and their staff oversee a hospice programme and provide anti-retroviral services currently to almost three hundred patients. Other patients initiated at the site have been transferred into local Department of Health Clinics, and in the remaining months of the programme decisions will be made in collaboration with the Department of Health of Tshwane Metropolitan Council regarding the provision of drugs to the hospice, or the transfer of patients to Departmental Clinics.
The Holy Cross Hospice has seen developments within the programme since its inception when numerous patients were dying in the hospice, and treatment was not yet widely available. Staff still marvel when desperately ill patients, often on the verge of death, recover so well within a short space of time and are able to resume their daily activities and the care of the children. A new worry though, they say, is the arrival of patients from elsewhere who are resistant to ART as a result of not having been adherent to treatment regimens, and the fact that patients continue to present very late, once they are already very ill.
The Sisters at Holy Cross are trained in NIMART, the nurse initiated management of antiretroviral treatment. Given the challenges they have faced retaining the services of a regular doctor even on a part time basis this is an asset to the programme. The HIV and Clinicians Society doctors provide advice on the treatment of patients presenting with particular needs, especially children.