Our work in South Africa
Although one of Africa’s strongest economies, South Africa's work force has been severely affected by the HIV epidemic. It has left 1.2 million children orphaned and shows no signs of abating.
AMREF is working in four of the most-affected provinces: Eastern Cape, KwaZulu Natal, Limpopo and Mpumalanga.
Major health challenges
South Africa has the second highest HIV rate in the world, with an estimated 5.5 million people HIV-positive (18.8% of the population). In KwaZulu Natal, the infection rate is as high as 39.1%.
Hospitals are struggling to cope with the number of HIV-related patients. A recent study estimates that HIV-positive patients will soon account for 60-70% of medical expenditure in South African hospitals.
South Africa is the fifth-worst TB-affected country in the world. This crisis is worsening, as some strains of TB are now resistant to standard treatments. The outbreak of extensively drug resistant tuberculosis in KwaZulu Natal detected in early September 2006 underscored the lethal combination of HIV and TB in South Africa, where as many as 60% of adult TB patients are also infected with HIV.
There is a critical shortage of health workers, especially in rural areas, where 72% of the population lives. While there have been some improvements in health care services, many clinics still lack basic equipment, drugs, tests for HIV and TB, and essentials like piped water and electricity.
Seventy percent of the rural population consult a traditional healer when they first fall ill; however, the health care system does not fully collaborate with them in health care delivery.
The scope of our work in South Africa
- Improving cure rates for TB and promoting the integration of HIV/AIDS and TB services in Eastern Cape
- Providing care and support for children in Limpopo and KwaZulu Natal province who are vulnerable or orphaned due to the HIV/AIDS crisis, including mentoring, counseling, and ensuring their education and other rights
- Training and supporting traditional healers to respond to the challenge of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases
- Closing the gap that exists between the healers and the formal health care services in KwaZulu Natal
- Reducing poverty and increasing women's and girls’ awareness of their rights in Jozini Municipality, KwaZulu Natal Province
- Training and mentoring community-based organizations that provide HIV prevention, care, and support services for people with HIV in Limpopo