UKZN’s Involvement in HIV Free Survival Project Ends on High Note
The Centre for Rural Health’s (CRH) has ended its partnership in the HIV Free Survival (PHFS) project after achieving its goal of improving HIV free child survival through support and mentorship.
The project was part of CRH’s Quality Improvement (QI) programme which aimed to reduce HIV transmission rates from mother to child to less than 5% at 18 months at ILembe District clinics over two years.
CRH’s Quality Mentor, Ms Lorraine Mkhize, said detection of malnutrition at Primary Health Care (PHC) level improved through training in identifying and managing malnutrition.
It also improved the accuracy in the recording and measurement of key nutrition indicators, said Mkhize.
‘The project achieved its goal to improve care for mothers and infants through support for Community Caregivers (CCG) and their supervisors in maternal and child health promotion, infant and young child feeding practices and promotion of adherence to ART,’ said Mkhize.
PHFS was in line with the multi-country learning network to implement the World Health Organisation (WHO) Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission (PMTCT) and infant feeding guidelines to share best practices, disseminate knowledge and accelerate improvement in breast feeding and postnatal PMTCT practices for mother-infant pairs.
‘It used a phased QI approach to integrate maternal, child health and nutrition service delivery in the postnatal period,’ Mkhize said.
CRH’s Senior Quality Mentor, Mrs Zodwa Sibisi, said through the project they discovered that at least 90% of mothers and babies return to facilities for follow-up six days post-natal. ‘Rapid testing of all infants at 18 months increased from 75% to 90%,’ said Sibisi.
Provincial (DoH) Maternal Child and Woman Health and Nutrition Cluster Manager Ms Lenore Spies, said that in addressing malnutrition, the department had embarked on an intervention which was multi-sectorial and included the departments of Agriculture, Education, Social Development and Home Affairs because malnutrition as a challenge needed a multidisciplinary approach.
Community Health Facilitator, Mrs Fikile Dlamini of the KwaDukuza District, said the project helped them strengthen the linkages between CCGs in the facilities through monthly meetings.
‘The two-way feedback helped to create good working relationships. It also assisted with follow up visits of pregnant mothers and with the identification of pregnant women before they are 14 weeks,’ said Dlamini.
PMCT co-ordinator in the iLembe District, Mrs Thembelihle Mungwe, said one of the project objectives - knowing the HIV status of every mother who attends clinics -assisted with the launch of Zazi Campaign which targeted the youth. She admitted that as a district they were not doing well - ‘we can do better if we work together’.
Some of the clinic sisters who participated in the project gave positive feedback about the PHFS, saying they will continue with its teachings although it has come to an end.