Seminars, workshops and courses on HIV and AIDS
Dr. Konrad Horn, a volunteer at
HOPE Cape Town
Anyone working in the field of HIV and AIDS needs to become a comprehensive care giver, advisor, educator and counsellor in the diverse cultural and social contexts of South Africa. They need to be skilled in assisting in the different aspects of a healthy life: physical, psychological, social, financial, educational and spiritual.
HOPE Cape Town realised that community based education and support is most effective when it is offered in the language and manner of the target group. It is the policy of HOPE Cape Town to employ people from within the target community and to give them the necessary training to become the HIV and AIDS “expert” in that community health centre.
The HOPE Community Health Workers
Most of the Community Health Workers were unemployed before joining HOPE Cape Town and had either volunteered at the clinic or other organisations within their community. Many of the HOPE Cape Town Community Health Workers have not completed 12 years of formal education however, they bring a wealth of experience and the support of their community. Joining HOPE Cape Town has provided a source of income and opportunities for their families while improving their communities. As one Community Health Care Worker put it, "I am getting paid for something that I love and have been doing for many years".
The Training Program
HOPE Cape Town has an extensive academic and in-service training program to equip the staff to deal with the complex and multi-dimensional challenges affecting their community and clients.
Training session for the HOPE Cape Town
Health Care Workers
Academic University Training
A condition of service is that every staff member completes the UNISA (University of South Africa) Diploma in HIV Care and Counselling. UNISA is a world class distance tertiary educational institution. This is a six month course which covers all aspects of HIV and AIDS transmission, development of AIDS, medication, behaviour changes associated with HIV, HIV and AIDS education, life skills training for children, traditional African world view of AIDS, spiritual and emotional guidance of people living with and close to the AIDS phenomenon.
HOPE Cape Town Health Care Worker training occurs every second week. Each session allows for a more in-depth teaching and discussion of issues raised during the UNISA course as well as what has happened during their work at the clinic. The day also serves as a debriefing session where they can process the harsh and emotional challenges that they face daily.
The classroom training is supported by practical training at the hospital. Each Community Health Worker is given the opportunity to work with the HOPE Cape Town Doctor. The Community Health Worker assists with the consultation, the counting of medication and calculating compliance. This expert tuition is vital once they are on their own in the field.
Each Community Health Worker assists at the Family Infectious Diseases Clinic at Tygerberg Academic Health Complex. The clinic provides ARV treatment for the whole family, which enables a more comprehensive service. This training helps with working with HIV-infected people of all ages and understanding the obstacles that people must overcome to enjoy a healthy life.
Compliance and adherence are critical in treatment as a person could develop a resistance to the drugs and these drugs will then no longer be effective against the virus. A more frightening consequence is the real possibility of the mutation of a new strain of HIV for which there is no treatment globally.
A large part of the training focuses on the physical / medical aspects of HIV and AIDS such as the virus, transmission, symptoms, associated diseases, diagnosis of HIV infection and AIDS, the management of HIV infection, the different medications, their application and side effects.
Compliance and adherence are major challenges in the disadvantaged communities. People lack the resources for basic needs such as food and fuel and there is very little money left for the 5 Rand transport fare to the day hospital to see the doctor to get the next supply of medicine. Many are reluctant to take the medication as it increases their appetite and they are already hungry. This knowledge is essential in the role as Compliance Officer to encourage and support our clients.
Nursing is an admired profession with a high status within the community. It is a profession to which many aspire but cannot reach due to the lack of education, funding or the belief in their ability. The HOPE Cape Town Community Health Workers are recognised as being well trained and professional in their conduct. Many are as skilled and knowledgeable in the practical aspects of primary health care as professional nurses.
HOPE Cape Town has entered into a partnership with the University of Stellenbosch to get the training program accredited and to a level where it can be considered as an entry to a nursing career. This will help these courageous women and men to fulfil their dreams of becoming a nurse.
HOPE Cape Town Association
Public Benefit Organisation (SA) No 18/11/13/4709
Non Profit Organisation (SA) No 031-599NPO