South Africa: Engaging Nurses to Provide Life-Saving HIV Treatment (December 2010)


Evidence suggests that using nurses to manage antiretroviral therapy is an effective, sustainable and acceptable approach for scaling up HIV treatment and care services. With support from the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the South African Government is using this model to expand access to HIV care, and ensure that health centres around the country are able to manage HIV care and treatment. Beginning in April 2010, a PEPFAR partner helped implement the nurse-initiated management of antiretroviral therapy in the three sub districts of Nkonkobe, Makana and Lukhanji in South Africa's Eastern Cape Province. On the ground, nurses received training and clinical mentorship to develop a plan for expanding AIDS treatment. In addition, the program helped nurses understand the progression of HIV and AIDS and allowed them to diagnosis and manage the treatment of people living with HIV/AIDS. In total, the project reached over 50 professional nurses in 79 health facilities. Empowered by the opportunity to save patients who would have died without treatment access, the project enrolled more than 1600 patients into antiretroviral therapy after the new system was introduced.


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