19 Feb The changing face of Medical Male Circumcision in South Africa: The JPS Africa experience
The three principles that underpin the VMMC work of JPS Africa (JPSA) is a person centred approach to improve health seeking behaviour and informed decision making of adolescent boys and men, gender discourse to reflect and address the health of men and the impact on women’s health, and collaborative partnerships to facilitate linkage to care and services across sectors and structures. With these principles in mind JPSA enthusiastically continued the journey within the MMC programme. Our values of hard work, quality and safe clinical practice soon contributed to unusual discomfort amongst VMMC partners and other role players.
JPSA is perceived as a “disruptor” in the VMMC space in SA. If so, our intent is to disrupt in a positive way. We are not afraid of tension and complexity in the VMMC space. Disruption happens in any competitive environment, thus in the VMMC space too but does present challenges as role players often have access to the same scarce pool of clinicians including GP networks and mobilisers. This is difficult to navigate in an already challenging environment.
In the SA VMMC space the handful bigger partners undoubtedly over the past few years dominated and controlled the space with zero tolerance for smaller partners to enter the space. This is historic in the VMMC space in SA and these barriers to entry must be addressed and lowered. Open and healthy competition should be encouraged within the space to increase improved programming as well as access to VMMC and linkage to and from VMMC.
JPSA is of the opinion that the increased influx of GP networks into the VMMC space comes with higher risk and costs and contradictory with the development approach that includes transferring of skills and ultimate transition of services to DOH.
It is in this competitive environment with existing role players that JPSA will be urgent about creating new, better options for the communities we serve and maintain own space.
Limited variety in the VMMC space will lead to limited problem-solving. New models of partnerships between existing and new players are potentially the quickest to achieve this variety and create conditions for disruptors to thrive in South Africa.
JPSA has become a major roll player in our own right in VMMC training, direct service delivery and demand creation.
Resilient by nature and experienced in VMMC, JPSA soldiers on in tough times often having to change our hub and spoke model and making a few adjustments for successful implementation and execution. At times making these changes is costly, but JPSA uses all challenges to improvise and using lessons learnt to improve services. JPSA is a known “quick mover” and able to enter new areas with ease facilitated by their flexibility, relationship -, decision making – and negotiation skills. JPSA is aware that making a mark in the space requires stepping out and up and be visible to stakeholders to make us exceptional.
Ida Asia, Managing Director, JPS Africa