South Africa is faced with the challenge of providing basic equitable health care to all its citizens, while simultaneously dealing with the acute health crisis caused by HIV/AIDS and rising TB rates. More than 18% of South African adults are living with HIV, totaling 5.4 million people. Like in other southern African countries, young women, the poor, and those living in underdeveloped areas of the country are disproportionately affected by the disease. Women account for 55% of HIV positive people in the country, with women aged 25-29 being the worst affected; prevalence rates are as high as 40% in this population. HIV prevalence in informal rural areas (17.6%) is nearly twice as high as that in formal urban areas (9.1%).
The government has made HIV and AIDS prevention and care a national priority, beginning with the finalization of the Reconstruction and Development Program document in 1994. Several policies and guidelines have been developed since then in order to support the implementation of HIV and AIDS strategies throughout the country, the most recent being the HIV and AIDS and STI Strategic Plan for 2007-2011, a follow-on to the National Strategic Plan of 2000-2005. The NGO sector continues to carry out innovative initiatives, covering a wide variety of approaches and channels, but program coordination and effective scaling-up remain challenges. The epidemic is putting an enormous strain on the health care system and healthcare workers, who often do not have sufficient levels of training in HIV/AIDS (both technical issues and counseling) or access to up-to-date information. It is within this context that HCP South Africa was started in 2003.
The HCP South Africa field office was registered as a local NGO, Johns Hopkins Health and Education in South Africa (JHHESA), in October 2004. JHHESA provides technical assistance and financial support to 16 local institutions working at the national, provincial and local levels in order to build their capacity to design, implement, monitor, evaluate, and manage HIV and AIDS related behaviour change communication programs in South Africa. JHHESA's partners use a combination of interpersonal communication, community mobilization and mass media to emphasize messages around HIV prevention, treatment, care and support, HIV counseling and testing, and orphans and vulnerable children. All of JHHESA's partners' activities fall into one or more of the 3 domains of South Africa's Pathways to a Competent Society Conceptual Framework: the social political environment, service delivery systems, and communities/individuals.
Social Political Environment
Service Delivery Systems
STORIES FROM THE FIELD
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