Western Cape Minister of Health, Theuns Botha today officially launched a new Rapid Antiretroviral Initiation Program (RAP) at the Hanover Park Community Health Centre.
The Western Cape Government Health, in partnership with the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation (DTHF), designed a new model of care for pregnant women who are eligible for, but not yet receiving Anti-retroviral Treatment (ART). Safety blood tests as well as intensive HIV, Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) and ART counselling take place concurrently with treatment initiation. This rapid antiretroviral initiation program was implemented at Hanover Park MOU (Maternity Obstetric Unit) at the beginning of February 2011.
Pregnant women who tested HIV positive in the MOU during the week were referred to attend the Tutu-Treater on a Friday. At the initial RAP visit, women received intense counselling from DTHF counsellors with screening for depression and substance misuse.
Eligible women are provided the rationale for rapid initiation and are given the opportunity to delay treatment commencement by one week. Women who are not eligible for treatment are referred back to the MOU to continue PMTCT.
By February 2012, the Tutu team withdrew but the service continued to grow as the need arose. The ARV clinic then opened its doors to other eligible non-pregnant adult ARV patients with a staff complement of one medical officer, two professional nurses and a counsellor. The team continues to use the RAP protocol for pregnant women with great success in reducing mother to child HIV transmission rates and retaining women in care after delivery.
Plans for the clinic 2013 include the introduction of adherence clubs and a paediatric ARV service.
Hanover Park Community Health Centre is a twenty four hour facility serving the immediate community of Hanover Park, Newfields and the adjacent communities of Lansdowne, Phillipi and Manenberg. The MOU services predominantly these communities and in addition, the broader Heideveld, Silvertown, Hazendal, Honeyside and Belgravia area. The total population for the entire drainage area is approximately 150 000.
Principal Communications Officer: District Health Services & Programmes
Western Cape Government Health
Tel: 021 483 2904
Fax: 021 483 6169