For nearly a decade, ICAP has worked to expand HIV prevention, care, and treatment services in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa with funding from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) Track 1.0 funding. At a recent celebration event in East London in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, ICAP joined the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Eastern Cape Province to acknowledge the achievements over the past eight years of partnership. “We started this HIV program together. There were so many fires to put out and lots of gaps,” said Ms. Nomalanga Makwedini, deputy director general at the Eastern Cape Department of Health. “ICAP came in at the right time when we started providing antiretroviral drugs in 2003. As a province we did not have the knowledge,” she continued.
Since the beginning of its work in the province, ICAP has supported nearly 100,000 adults and almost 8,000 children to initiate antiretroviral therapy and gain access to comprehensive HIV care. ICAP has also contributed to vital health systems strengthening through implementing reporting and monitoring systems, training and mentoring staff, and renovating health facilities.
Transition of support to the programs has been achieved with local partners including Health Systems Trust, Institute of Health Programs and Systems, and the Aurum Research Foundation. The organizations will manage five newly renovated clinics as well as the enhanced hospital, staff, and patient support systems developed under ICAP. Acting district manager for the Amatole District Municipality, Ms. Sindisa Gede remarked on the transition, “The footprints of ICAP will never fade from our hearts. ICAP has done their part in ensuring that things are happening and systems are in place. Now it is for us to ensure that we keep your high standards and carry it forward.”
ICAP will continue its work in South Africa leading several evaluations including a national study of pediatric HIV treatment outcomes and a multi-country study on voluntary medical male circumcision. In collaboration with the University of Cape Town, ICAP will also design and develop TB/HIV training courses for clinicians and infection control certifications for clinic staff. In 2011, ICAP’s team in South Africa also began the national program, HIV Prevention Services for High-Risk Underserved Populations, under PEPFAR, to provide HIV prevention services to men who have sex with men and support capacity building assistance for the most-at risk populations. Like the Eastern Cape program, these projects aim to promote long-lasting change in the region.