Pakamisa Private Game Reserve conducted their third health clinic for all the staff at the end of June. These clinics have proven to be extremely important, not only for managing the health status of the staff, but for the educational value that is shared in the group.
The clinics are run by Siloah Lutheran Hospital situated approximately 60kms away in the rolling hills of Dlomodlomo. They are a NPO, funded by the Department of Health, and a primary health care facility providing HIV, AIDS and TB-related treatment, care and support services. Their health care programme monitors, and proactively works towards the improved health and well-being of families in surrounding areas. They provide HIV counselling and testing (HCT). They are an accredited antiretroviral (ARV) treatment initiation and on-going treatment site.
Statistically there are over 6 million cases of HIV in South Africa, ie. 12.5% of the total population (estimated at 55 million). Of these, 3.5 million are being treated through Government or private outlets. This means that 2.5 million cases are untreated, possibly due to lack of testing. It is essential to encourage people to be tested and treated as soon as possible.
According to Dr. Heinz Niebuhr, CEO and Clinical Manager at Siloah, there are an estimated 200 new HIV infections daily, in the 16 – 30 year age group. Young women between 16 – 30 years are extremely vulnerable as they have a tendency to be seduced by older men, known as ‘blessers’. Once these relationships terminate the girls gravitate back to their own age group males, and the cycle of infection is well under way. Women are testing for HIV, but it proves more difficult to persuade men.
Thankfully the incidence of TB infection has halved in the past 5 years amongst women as they tend to be in a treatment program. The transmission of HIV from pregnant mother to child has declined dramatically to almost zero incidence, again thanks to women being more responsive to testing and treatment.
Pakamisa is extremely grateful to Siloah for their commitment to our health and wellness program and collectively we hope to reduce the incidence of HIV and TB in our community.