God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensées of a Catholic priest

Working means networking

No NGO is working alone – even if the South African fundraising market is heavily contested and organizations try to gain the upper hand in securing funds, networking is an essential. There is unfortunately not really a culture to this – and140404_A3-Poster Leader Recruitment 2014_colour_v02-a jealousy and the meaning of superiority can undermine every effort to network on the same eye level. Obviously there are also exceptions, but it has to be said that there is a long way to go in South Africa to understand the real meaning of working together. Next jealousy is politics the other downfall when it comes to the attempt to work together. It was amazing to see how many “hopes’ have been created after the visit of chancellor Angela Merkel to HOPE Cape Town and I was thrilled to see an organization in Durban using even our logo for their advertising. Even in certain township communities  people try to cash in on associating themselves with similar wording. Amazing to see when analytically observed…

HOPE Cape Town has always tried to keep an open mind and  is networking and partnering with many organizations in South Africa and Germany. The German AIDS Foundation and HOPE & Future e.V. are such NGO partners but also in South Africa there are partners like the Manenberg After-school Care or Emilie’s Creche @ St. Lorrie’s Pass Village. There is always so much to do and so little one organization can do alone, so working together is essential if one really wants to better the lives of people.
Belonging to a network of NGO’s here in the Western Cape, I visited AMANDLA in Khayelitsha, an organization using soccer as means to bring youngsters away from drugs and gansterism and allow them to develop self-esteem and developing their potential. They are trying now to establish a further project exactly between Manenberg and Gugulethu – a black and a coloured township. Everybody who is familiar with the locations will know that this is an adventure as these areas are strictly separated since apartheid and each area is a no-go area for the other side. Bridging this gap and ending the hostilities is the aim of this project and obviously HOPE Cape Town sees the chance to network and introduce the Manenberg After-school Care project to AMANDLA. I guess sometimes it only needs to bring some people or organizations together to create synergies.

I wish the new endeavor of AMANDLA all the best and hope that more networking can be done in the future to strengthen the fabric of those lives still separated through race or skin color.

Filed under: HOPE Cape Town Association, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, HOPE Cape Town Trust, Networking, Reflection, Society and living environment, , , , , , , , ,

Politics can produce drug resistance

It will be a hot and contested election year in South Africa – and the heat is starting to be felt with all the manifestos and declarations but also toi-toi’s and service delivery protests. The DA want’s to march towards Luthuli House, Khayelitsha residence fight for better sanitation systems, AMCU is on strike again at the Platinum mines – people are going for their convictions onto the streets and politics one or the other way dictates for a lot of people how they spend their days. The question I would like to ask is whether with all those emotions boiling over are people still taking care of their health? Do people have time to go to the clinics to take their TB medication; do they think of appointments with doctors and nursing staff and do they take their anti-retroviral treatment as prescribed if they are in need of it?

We often hear that in times of unrest, civil war health issues are on the back-burner when it comes to people’s minds – often they don’t have the opportunity to organize their health related obligations to keep fit. But I believe even on the low-level of service delivery protests and strikes and marches we can see the problem arising of not adherence to life saving medication. We pride ourselves to put more and more people on those medication but we seem not to be able to ensure the proper compliance when politics takes over. With 2 million and still counting for example on anti-retroviral treatment, there must be a concern about their well-being in those heated days.
When we saw the poo-protesters on the N2 motorway many times last year – those questions of adherence and compliance were always on my mind. Knowing how big the restrains are already on the health system we can’t effort more resistant bugs. And reading this morning about the thoughts of government officials to let people pay if they self-inflict their health problems – non-compliance because of toi-toi might be also falling soon under that label. It might sound far-fetched – but country and society are in such a crazy mood in many quarters – let’s work together that we care about compliance and adherence, be it TB or HIV or any other of those disease bringing down a person if not treated in a proper way.

Filed under: General, HIV and AIDS, HIV Treatment, Politics and Society, Reflection, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Not shy to sell “milk not for sale”

Some spaza shop owners in Khayelitsha are selling formula milk that is marked “Not for resale”. TAC reports. This milk is supposed to be given free to HIV-positive mothers to give to their babies instead of breast milk to avoid infecting the newly born. The brand name for the state’s formula milk is Melegi. It is manufactured by Aspen. In August 2011 the Ministry of Health in South Africa announced that exclusive breastfeeding will be replacing the formula feeding throughout South Africa. The reason for the change of heart: clinical trials over the last few years have shown that if women take anti-retroviral treatment they can breastfeed with very little risk of passing on the virus.

A consequence of this is that the milk is now being sold illegally because some mothers still want to use it and it is not available free anymore. The question is now: How got the free milk “not for sale” into the spaza shops where mothers have to pay for it. And the next question is whether mothers, who use the formula milk and breast-feeding are aware that mixing the two methods is more dangerous to their baby than exclusively either breast-feeding or formula feeding.

Filed under: HIV and AIDS, HIV Prevention, HIV Treatment, Society and living environment, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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