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Traditional circumcision rituals are part of the rites of passage for many young boys into manhood. Traditional rites of passage are practices by various cultures in South Africa. In South Africa, thousands of young boys are circumcised in traditional initiation schools each year. Not all initiation schools practice the same circumcision procedure, with some schools only performing a partial circumcision. A number of risks are incorporated with this journey to manhood. Sadly, many young boys die each year from botched or non-sterile circumcisions or dehydration during the circumcision ritual because they are denied water. There is no health screening before initiation takes, hence placing ill initiates, or those with chronic conditions, at risk of adverse events. Some initiates suffer genital mutilation or penile amputation as a result of untrained practitioners. In addition, where circumcisers use the same non-sterilised blade on all initiates these young men are placed at risk of contracting...

ssA landmark study in 2009 found that a vaccine can protect people from HIV infection. The study found that an experimental vaccine was 31.2 percent effective at preventing HIV infection during the 3.5 years after vaccination, and 60 percent effective one year after vaccination. In May 2016, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease in the USA (NIAID) announced that following the success of this earlier trial, the study would be continued pending regulatory approval and expanded in South Africa to a larger group to assess whether it is safe, tolerable and effective in South African adults commencing in November 2016. The success of such a trial would have a significant impact, especially in South Africa where an estimated 11.2 percent of the total population is infected with HIV as of 2015, and more than 6 million people are living with the virus. For adults between 15 and 49, the infection prevalence...

Training on infection control at home for Community Health Care Workers (CHCW) employed by hospice and Redcross in Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Health District (NMBMHD) in the eastern Cape Province. Nelson Mandela Bay Health District has the highest rate of Drug Resistant (DR) TB notified each month with a total of 40-50 patients. Due to this challenge, the National Department of Health has identified a pilot project which aims at reducing transmission of DR- TB in the community. JPS Africa has provided Infection Control (IC) training for DR supporting partners (Red Cross and Hospice nurses and CHCW). The DR supporting partners will supervise and provide health education to DR patients on community DOT. In preparation for the pilot project on Infection control at home, DR patients who are treated in the community whilst smear and culture positive will be getting kits on a monthly basis to prevent those diagnosed and managed at...

By James Thabo Molelekwa. on May 16, 2016 in HIV Prevention, News In Mpumalanga, boys are preparing to head to ‘the mountain’ and return as men. As concerns regarding the safety of some initiation schools mount, a new blend of tradition and medicine may help preserve a centuries-old rite. Mpumalanga Pedi Chief Andries Mokhonto and his son Dr. Itumeleng Tema outside their Kwaggafontein home.  The last born of a Pedi chief, Itumeleng Tema grew up in rural Kwaggafontein, Mpumalanga about 100 kms north of Pretoria. In the former KwaNdebele homeland, chiefs may still spend busy mornings attending to community business before meeting in offices adorned with past chief’s photos and clan names. Tema’s life before medical school was wrapped in tradition and after medical school, it called him back. Hundreds of boys have been killed during traditional circumcision in the last decade. While the Eastern Cape leads the country in such deaths, Mpumalanga recorded almost 70 such deaths between...

South African nurses are particularly valuable, because of their experience with a vast burden of disease. Anyone who has visited a health care facility before will know that interaction with a doctor is limited to a few short minutes and revolves around what is medically wrong. It is most often a nurse who checks on you regularly, and builds the personal connection that makes you feel cared for. Many South Africans feel the benefit of their work every day – both in hospitals and in their communities where nurses are regarded as a source of medical support and information. Yet for many nurses, holding down a single job is not an option. An estimated 70 percent of nurses in South Africa do additional work after hours including moonlighting, working overtime, or doing agency work resulting in nurses being overworked and often suffer from burnout. When nurses are overworked and underpaid...

Little things can make a big difference. The mosquito – a tiny insect that spreads one of the most dangerous diseases worldwide – is one example. In fact, it is the even smaller parasites of the genus Plasmodium that live inside the female Anopheles mosquito that cause Malaria. On 25 April, the World Health Organisation (WHO) will be marking World Malaria day. According to the latest WHO estimates, released in December 2015, there were 214 million cases of malaria in 2015 and 438 000 deaths. Yet, in positive news, according to the WHO, between the year 2000 and the year 2015, the number of deaths caused by malaria fell an incredible 60 percent, indicating the positive impact of the myriad of efforts to address this health challenge. During the same period the incidence rate has decreased by 37% globally. Of course, as is the case with many illnesses, not all regions and...

March is TB awareness month around the world, and thus a perfect time to reflect on the work that is being done to eradicate TB in South Africa. A key part of the work is partnership – between Government and the people who work with communities to ensure that strategies are implemented, and therefore effective. South Africa’s TB problem is indeed complex. Treatment can cure the disease within six months, but it requires a particular regiment of treatment and it requires the medicines to be accessible. As well as having high numbers of cases of ordinary TB, there are also increasing numbers of cases of multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB). This type of TB is severe, the bacteria are resistant to multiple antibiotics and is therefore more difficult to treat, requiring up to 24 months of treatment. In South Africa, around five percent of TB cases are MDR-TB. The likelihood that someone will contract...

March is Tuberculosis (TB) awareness month around the world. The World Health Organisation has set a target of eradicating TB by 2035. In South Africa, this has particular importance. As of 2013, TB was the number one cause of death in South Africa with 8.8% of all deaths caused by the disease[1] (above HIV, heart disease, pneumonia, and diabetes.) South Africans are contracting TB at the second highest rate of any country in the world (Lesotho is number one). But, TB is curable within six months if treatment is taken,[2] so why the continued high rates? TB is an infectious bacterial disease that most commonly affects the lungs. It is contagious and can be transmitted from person to person via droplets from the throat and lungs of people with the active disease. There are two types of TB – latent and active.[3] Those who have latent TB are not contagious, and don’t...

JPS Africa (previously Jhpiego South Africa) is a non-profit organisation registered in South Africa in terms of Section 21 of the Companies Act of 1973 (as amended). JPS Africa currently works on four major projects which share a common goal of increasing access to high-quality HIV and AIDS services in South Africa. Since 2007, JPS Africa has worked with groups from the community level to the national level in order to build sustainable local capacity through advocacy, policy development, and quality and performance improvement approaches. In addition to this, JPS Africa offers the necessary high-quality experience implementing HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, care and support programmes and effective management skills to successfully execute and provide technical assistance in related fields. JPS Africa maintains a two-tier capacity with regards to strategic direction, namely at board level and at management level. The JPS Africa Board includes the Managing Director and non-executive board members with strategic...

Imagine you’re trying to sell something. You know that this thing is fantastic. You know that it can change lives, perhaps even change the world. You get together with some like-minded people and they agree to promote this product too. So now you have a team of people, a great thing to sell, and you want other people to know that they can buy it. What is the first thing you think you’ll need to do it? Keep that in mind. Many Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) have faced a series of financial crises post-2008. The economic recession means that overseas donors are tightening their belts, and shifting their focus. Donors want clear impact – they want to see that the work they’re funding makes a difference. This makes sense, because many of the donors that fund South African organizations must themselves report to donors elsewhere in the world. But programmes can’t run themselves. They...