HIV/Aids education, prevention and patient care has become a necessity in the agricultural sector with many farmworkers contracting the virus each month. The work of two projects, the Autonomous Treatment Centre (ATC) and the Farm Workers Care for Each Other Project (FWCOP) in Limpopo was recently recognised when they were nominated for the Impumelelo Innovations Award Trust top honour that will be announced in May.
Impumelelo has rewarded exceptional and innovative solutions to public service delivery shortcomings since 1999. T he ATC model is described by Impumelelo as a “model of service delivery for integrated HIV/STI/TB and palliative home-based care”. Together with the Limpopo health department and various other stakeholders, the project focuses on health education and information, unemployment and the care of orphans and children who are vulnerable as a result of poverty and disease. Over 2 500 patients are enrolled on antiretroviral treatment programmes, while three farms are reached by the mobile HIV/Aids centre. One ATC can apparently serve up to 150 000 people per year.
The FWCOP was established in 2003 and is run by the Hoedspruit Training Trust. To reduce farmworkers’ vulnerability to HIV/Aids, up to five farmworkers are nominated by the community and trained as carers called nompilos (Zulu meaning “mothers of life”). Nompilos help develop HIV/Aids workplace policies with farm management, peer education on living healthy lifestyles, food parcel distribution and home-based care provision, as well as communication on social wellbeing. The FWCOP is run on 28 farms in the Hoedspruit area and collectively reaches about 6 000 people every day. Since nomination, however, the number of farms reached is currently at 38. – David Steynberg