Together with the US Government (PEPFAR/USAID), Anglo American Thermal Coal and the Ndlovu Care Group, Virgin Unite launched an innovative public-private partnership to tackle HIV/AIDS and improve healthcare in one of the most impoverished areas of South Africa.
TB and HIV/AIDS ravage communities, like those in the Bushbuckridge area in the Mpumalanga province, where most of the 500,000 population has limited access to health services and an estimated 20% are HIV positive.
Our response: Together with the US Government (PEPFAR/USAID), Anglo American Thermal Coal, the Dutch Postcode Lotterij and the Ndlovu Care Group, Virgin Unite launched an innovative public-private partnership to tackle HIV/AIDS and improve healthcare in one of the most impoverished areas of South Africa.
The result is the Bhubezi Community Healthcare Centre - a one-stop clinic for basic healthcare, TB, and HIV/AIDS care.
We worked with social entrepreneur Dr. Hugo Tempelman, who has been instrumental in developing and managing the Bhubezi clinic.
USAID, Anglo American Thermal Coal and Virgin Unite provided much needed funding for the project to build the centre, purchase equipment and employ staff, and the Dutch ‘Postcode Lotterij’ funded an admin extension. They now continue to fund the ongoing management costs.
‘Right to Care’ (funded by PEPFAR/USAID) provided the clinic with infrastructure and support in the form of staff housing, an ambulance and an x-ray machine. They also cover operating expenses, including human resources. The Department of Health provides the ARV, TB and opportunistic infection medication including pathology monitoring.
The clinic provides basic health care services on a sliding scale fee basis and free diagnosis and treatment for those suffering from HIV/AIDS or TB.
The impact to date:
Bhubezi’s impact is far and wide. From the time it first opened its doors in April 2007, the clinic has had over 145,000 patient visits.
Since inception, Bhubezi has initiated over 5,900 patients on Anti-Retroviral Treatment (ART), allowing patients to manage their illness and reclaim a better quality of life. Of these over 3,600 are still active on treatment.
In bringing medical expertise and state of the art healthcare to the area, the clinic is also creating jobs. It employs 51 people from the local area, including three doctors, who are dedicated to saving lives in their community.
Nappy Mbwane, a mother of three, came to Bhubezi after falling ill and suspecting she was HIV positive. She says:
“I was weak, I was unable to walk, I was dizzy and I did nothing at home, I was just about to die if God wanted it to be.”
Though the prospect of learning her status was frightening, she says:
“I wanted to know because this is a part of my life and I’ve got children to look after, my children need me to help them because they’ve got nobody.”
After testing positive for HIV she began ART. “The treatment I’m taking helps me a lot, now I feel very much better. Before Bhubezi was built it was really terrible, there was no help. It is good to go to Bhubezi… you are going to get help. To the people who have donated to the clinic I say thank you very, very much.”
Bhubezi co-founder Dr Hugo Tempelman sums up the centre’s greatest achievement:
“It gave hope to the community and belief in sustainable service delivery at a consistent high quality. The clinic has brought medical professionals and expertise to a remote rural area where previously there were none. [It] shows that quality medical services in a comprehensive package are deliverable in harsh circumstances in rural South Africa.”
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