In May of this year, one of our community members was traveling to Nkanya Clinic to collect her ARV medication when she was attacked and assaulted. She was able to safely get away, however, this was unfortunately not an isolated incident.
To get to Nkanya Clinic (the “nearest” clinic in our area), community members must cross the Xhora River, walk through thick forests and mountainous roads for over three hours. According to the Station Commander at the Eliotdale Police Station, many women are victims of assaults as they travel these long distances. This is a serious barrier to healthcare that deeply impacts our community.
In partnership with the National Department of Health, the Bulungula Health Point is now a community HIV treatment pick-up point. Instead of making the long journey, now the clinic sends an electronic script to the centralised dispensing system (Central Chronic Medicine Dispensing and Distribution) run by the Department of Health, and the ARVs are then packed and couriered to the Bulungula Health Point for collection. Selected community members who are stable on ARVs then have the option to collect their parcel or have it delivered by our Nomakhayas (Home Based Carers). Now community members will only need to go to the clinic for routine clinical check ups twice a year.
Providing easier access to ARVs increases adherence in order for individuals to achieve viral suppression, and better health and wellbeing!