Recommendations that Tapologo and Nazareth House treatment programmes continue beyond PEPFAR funding
The SACBC AIDS Office commissioned SEAD (Strategic Evaluation, Advisory and Development Consulting) to undertake a study of the antiretroviral treatment programme’s remaining two sites, Nazareth House in Johannesburg, and Tapologo in Rustenburg, and of the surrounding Department of Health clinics. The study was requested by the National Department of Health. Both church programmes have PEPFAR funding till May 2014, after which patients will need to receive services in Department of Health clinics unless new agreements can be reached. The recommendation which the National Department of Health will make as a follow up to the study to both the Gauteng and North West Provincial Departments of Health is that they enter into agreements with the two sites, and make provision for the funding of their staffing costs to enable both to continue assisting with the provision of treatment. The Department of Health wants the scale up of anti-retroviral treatment across the country to take effect from January when people with a CD4 count of 500 (currently it is 350) are initiated on treatment. Both Nazareth House and Tapologo are committed to this service. It has been shown that the earlier people go on to treatment the less likely they are to transmit the virus to others. What it also means is that people need to understand the implications of non adherence, and the overall importance of adherence if the country is successfully to manage its antiretroviral treatment programme.