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KZN increases number of patients on ART

ART programme

ART programme

Pretoria – The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health has reported an increase in the number of patients registered on its antiretroviral (ART) programme from 408 238 in the 2010/11 to 535 910 as of the end of 2011/12 financial year.

Provincial Health MEC, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, said the focus of the ART programme during the 2010/11 financial year was on ART expansion to primary healthcare facilities with a special focus on initiating new patients at primary healthcare facilities level.

“Of those [patients]registered, 9% are children, 59.8% female, and 31.2% male, the new target for 2012/13 financial year is 626 436,” said Dr Dhlomo, presenting the department’s Budget Vote on Thursday.

Dr Dhlomo noted that the province had responded to the call by President Jacob Zuma to have all South Africans know their HIV status in order to access treatment, care and support early.

He reported that the provincial HIV, Counselling and Testing campaign had been successful since it started in April 2010 with the province already having 100% of fixed facilities providing the service.

Seventy four of the facilities are providing ARVs prophylaxis to 4 248 patients and attributed this success to department’s call that sexual assault victims must access post-exposure prophylaxis even before their assault matter is reported to the police.

Currently, there are 546 active support groups for people living with HIV and AIDS with an average of 20 to 25 people per support group.

Dhlomo announced that the programme, which commenced in eThekwini, Ilembe, UThukela and UMgungundlovu will be rolled out to the rest of the province in 2012/13.

“We have the Care and Support Programme, which is aimed at mitigating the impact of HIV and AIDS and other chronic illnesses within communities, the department is providing care and support services through the implementation of home and community based-care, step down care and supporting the establishment of support groups for people living with HIV,” he said. – BuaNews

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