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A 'SPECIAL PROJECT' SERVING AFRICA

ORANGE FARM WOMEN SOLVE 80%
OF THE HIV / AIDS PROBLEM

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The debate still rages over the origins and treatment of AIDS. Undoubtedly the best approaches to the HIV/AIDS crisis are preventative and educational. Not only is preventative health care cost effective and cheaper in the long run, it pre-empts the onset of ill-health that can lead to expensive hospitalisation if left untreated – and can even prove fatal. But current primary health care and education programmes do not get to the people effectively and both clinics

Moreover, anyone in the Orange Farm settlement when not feeling well are faced few options. Going to a doctor for check-up can be difficult and expensive. The lack of clinics is a further problem, especially in such informal townships and rural areas, so people invariably only attend them or hospitals in emergencies or as a last resort. Even where clinics exist are mostly open only during daytime working hours and are increasingly unable to cope with or accommodate HIV/AIDS sufferers.

Women’s Voice organisation headed by Olga Lutu, had identified the paradoxical situation of there being a number of unemployed nurses in the area. They thereupon decided to take their own initiative which led to the idea that they should ‘privatize’ their services to neighbouring 100 families and to contract to visit three or four families on a pre-arranged day, once a month at a time when the whole family is present.

As a trained HealthCare-giver it is not her task to dispense medicine or to provide treatment other than basic First Aid. The vital point of this service therefore is that it is a preventative health-care service, which by providing a continuity of monthly attention enables her to detect any changes in health early enough for it to be treated in time. In a case of suspected ill-health she makes out a simple referral slip for the person to take to a clinic, doctor or Welfare official. This has the immediate effect of lessening the impact of clinic queues and clinical attention.

Counseling is a key function of the HealthCare-Giver. A common problem of the HIV/AIDS situation is often an unwillingness of children and parents to discuss sexual matters. But by building up a personal relationship with the family, she can have private talks with individual members.

All parents accept the need to invest in their family education - health education is no less vital. The scheme is run and financed on the Stokvel principle whereby each family contributes an agreed amount, say R10 per month to the HealthCare-Giver. In a family of five this means a payment of only R2 per person for such a service that would include a blood pressure test. Her income would then be a basic R1 000 per month for this part-time service.

The remote rural community of Kgautswane through its Development Centre has organised support for HealthCare-Givers to service each of their 19 neighbouring villages. The important fact of this scheme is that it is substantially self-financing and self-sustaining, investment in training of the HealthCare-Givers both increases employment and serves the greatest number of families in a short time.

This scheme won an Award from the World Bank development Market Place 2000, yet has lacked on-going support despite the fact that there are minimum organisational costs involved. Indeed, as payments are made directly between the client and the HealthCare-Giver there is no need for any new typical bureaucratic structure, nor any place for a ‘middleman’ to profit from the situation – which indeed has been a suspected reason for a lack of interest by such organisations in this scheme.

THE ORANGE FARM SOLUTION

The 2000 and 2004 HIV/AIDS conferences have inevitably focussed on treatment about which there is least agreement, finance – or hope. This is however only one of five key problems which are solved by the Orange Farm Women’s Voice, namely :

1. The lack of primary health care :
- The HealthCare-Giver advises on general health and especially on HIV/AIDS prevention.

2. Education and counseling :
- As brought out by Nkosi Johnson at the Durban conference - the great need is to reach families and the very young in a caring, non-condemnatory, non-threatening manner.

3. Home health care of the dying
- The training course includes 10 modules on handling bed-ridden cases.

4. Ultimately the responsibility is that of the individual – and their community.
– is evidenced by families agreeing to invest R10 monthly in their family’s health – where possible. However, in the case of destitute families and seriously affected AIDS sufferers, she will be in a position to bring really deserving cases to the attention of the Welfare authorities for support, or plead with the wealthier members of the community to subsidise their attention to that family.

Additionally, the HealthCare-Giver is able to offer other supportive services namely:

5. Nutrition and immunity
- The HealthCare-Giver is in a position not only to advise families on how correct nutrition can enhance the immune system, but also provide information on vegetable growing according to the organic Eco-Circle method which requires little effort and far less water.

6. Health Information
The HealthCare-Giver should at all times have a selection of literature on basic health care, baby care, T.B., HIV/AIDS etc, thousands of which are distributed randomly by the health authorities but which can be handed out to any family member at the appropriate time.


ST JOHN AMBULANCE HOME HEALTH CARE-GIVER COURSE offers the following services :

1. Care-giver characteristics
2. Observation / Identifying problems
3. Record keeping
4. General problems
5. Signs and symptoms
6. Prevention and treatment
7. Improvisation
8. Practical temperature
9. Pulse & respiration
10. Blood pressure
11. Nutrition
12. Medicines [ importance and dangers ]
13. Colds, ‘flu, inhalations
14. Infections.
15. Fever
16. Diarrhea
17. Skin problems
18. Mouth and throat
19. Immunisation programmes
20. Tiredness and weakness
21. Stress
22. Sexually transmitted diseases
23 HIV/AIDS awareness / avoidance
24. Comfort of patients
25. Bed-making
26. Helping patient in and out of bed
27. Bathing, undressing and dressing
28. Bed-bathing
29. Hair washing
30. Care of nails, mouth and feet
31. Pressure care
32. Bedpans
33. Catheter care and urine bags
24. Death and dying

For further information contact:
Olga Lutu at Women’s Voice c/o Antony.V.Trowbridge
atrow@tsa.ac.za


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THE FOUNDATION FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF AFRICA
is a private, 'not-for-profit', non-membership, organisation actively serving Africa by promoting processes conducive to sustainable development
......throughout Africa - with the emphasis on sustainability!
This organisation is currently rated as one of the most proactive Sustainable Business Development Organisations in Africa!
Serving Africa since 1999.

We are actively involved with promoting the
AFRICAN RENEWAL PROGRAMME

However -
We firmly believe that sustainable development is a process that must start from within - Africa needs to "partner" with herself first!
We also prefer the phrase: "Lets create wealth" rather than "Lets alleviate poverty"
Our initiatives include enabler 'showcasing'; networking opportunities; business opportunities; investment opportunities; promotion of special projects; dissemination of business information; joint venture initiatives and a range of value added services - all to serve

AFRICA!

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