Picture: Ricardo DeAratanha
Picture: Ricardo DeAratanha

US funding for 4 000 HIV patients stopped

By Laea Medley Time of article published Apr 18, 2012

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About 4 000 HIV-positive patients that were treated at the semi-private McCord Hospital will have to get treatment at public clinics after private funding from US stopped.

Last month, the hospital announced it would transfer about 4 000 of its HIV patients from its Sinikithemba ARV clinic to more than 50 public health clinics after the US President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (Pepfar) phased out its financial support.

At the time, Aids Foundation chief executive Debbie Mathew said that with the transition, there was a risk that some patients could end up going to the back of the queue and having to reapply for medication, resulting in their missing out on their medication for some time.

However to prevent its HIV patients falling through the cracks as they are transferred to public health clinics, Durban’s McCord Hospital is taking measures to understand patients’ individual needs.

Helga Holst, chief executive at McCord, said the hospital had a well-planned process with the Department of Health for the transferral of patients.

“As it is important that the patients don’t end up having to reapply for their medication, we send them only to clinics that have been inspected by the Department of Health for adequate HIV-treatment facilities.”

Holst said the transition of patients from Sinikithemba would take place in a phased manner, with patients who were stable and on first-line treatment being the first to be transitioned.

Between March 15 and 30, McCord transferred about 109 patients a day.

Holst also said that staff that were on Pepfar-related contracts would be absorbed into the hospital as much as possible, but some would have to be let go.

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