The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund is undertaking, with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), a health care project in South Africa. PWRDF will contribute half a million dollars over five years towards the $2 million project that will focus on preventing HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis among pregnant women in the Ngqushwa district of the Eastern Cape, South Africa.
“This project will train village health workers to run education programs in their communities about prevention of and care for people infected and affected by HIV and AIDS and TB,” said Adele Finney, Executive Director of PWRDF. “The HIV infection rate in Ngqushwa district is 17.5% in the general population, and a staggering 33-45% amongst pregnant women. Those who are HIV positive in the region are at a greater risk of contracting TB. The project will therefore encourage HIV and TB testing, especially among child-bearing women and their partners. A family-centred approach will improve the survival rate of infants and children, as well as their mothers.”
The program will reach about 30,000 people in the region, increasing access by 43% to anti-retroviral drugs among children under 16, through the South African government’s HIV and AIDS Directorate. It will mobilize communities to promote HIV and TB prevention, care, and testing, and provide counseling to pregnant women and specialized training to government health providers.
Over the five years of the program, HIV and TB infection rates will decrease as awareness of and support for testing, prevention, and treatment increase, especially among children in the region. The village health workers recruited and trained by this program will promote HIV and AIDS education, testing, early access to health care and treatment for patients before they become chronically ill.
PWRDF has a 40 year working relationship with CIDA, and looks forward to its continuing work with the Keiskamma Trust, the implementing partner in Ngqushwa.