Improving health services for South Africa’s young people
Title: Multisectoral HIV prevention programme (MHIVP)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: South Africa
Lead executing agency: National Department of Health (NDoH)
Overall term: 2018 to 2020
Currently, 7,900,000 people in South Africa live with HIV. In 2017 alone, the country registered 231,000 new HIV infections. Those generally affected are young adults, in particular girls. Every week, 1,975 young women are infected with the HI-Virus. This makes South Africa the country with the highest number of people living with HIV or becoming newly infected in the world. The young population is increasingly suffering the consequences of this widespread epidemic.
The South African departments of Health, Basic Education, Higher Education and Training and Social Development have acknowledged the urgency of a multi-sectoral response to the HIV epidemic. In an attempt to alleviate its burden, they issued relevant policies within their departments, agreed to a multi-sectoral Integrated School Health Policy and began supporting the national ‘She Conquers’ campaign for adolescent girls and young women.
Yet, capacity for the implementation of these strategies is limited; hindering HIV prevention measures from being implemented effectively.
Structural and institutional preconditions to implement national strategies that lead to improved, extended and more comprehensive HIV prevention measures for young people (ages 10-24) have improved.
The programme works to strengthen partners within the Eastern Cape Province in the districts of Buffalo City Metro, Nelson Mandela Bay and Alfred Nzo. It is comprised of the following areas of intervention:
- Implementation of the Integrated School Health Policy: Together with the Departments of Health, Education and Social Development, the programme establishes task teams for coordinating the policy’s implementation. Civil society organisations simultaneously engage learners and parents on its content.
- Capacitation of teachers for comprehensive sexuality education: With the support of the programme, the provincial Department of Education develops an improved manual on comprehensive sexuality education at primary and secondary schools. By developing a corresponding monitoring tool, the department will be able to track the impact of training teachers and teaching learners with this new manual.
- Improving life orientation training for lecturers: The Higher Education and Training HIV, Health, Wellness and Development Centre (HEAIDS) receives technical support on the development and production of materials and trainings for life orientation lecturers at technical and vocational education and training colleges in the fields of sexual and reproductive health and rights, and sexual and gender diversity (LGBTI).
- Establishing a ‘She Conquers’ coordination platform: The programme gathers international and national partners as part of the national campaign for adolescent girls and young women. Guided by the Office of the Premier, they cooperatively coordinate their work in the Eastern Cape Province.
Prior to its current term, the programme helped improving the quality of adolescent- and youth-friendly services at health care facilities in the district Alfred Nzo. Thanks to the commission of Health Focus and Enhancing Care Foundation, 60 clinics can be regarded as youth-friendly. Moreover, young patients have become increasingly satisfied with the quality of services offered.
HEAIDS developed the successful radio education project ‘Future Beats’ that deals with topics related to HIV/AIDS. With the support of the programme, the weekly radio show now reaches over 720,000 young people in six provinces throughout South Africa.