District Blogs

Treatment Action Campiaign

District Blogs - Treatment Action Campiaign

Mad-Mak Branch on 67 Minutes in Community Work

Members of Mad-Mak Branch in community work

Members of TAC in the Vhembe District in Limpopo, together with community members

Pushing the wheel barrow to fill up some damaged spots in the main road

including the local ward counselor has embarked on community action in support for The International Nelson Mandela Day. They spend their valuable time trying to repair some damage

in their village’s main road. This event took place on the 15 on July 2011 just few days before Nelson Mandela’s 93rd birthday.

Both Photos supplied by Hlayisani Ndimande

Blog post by Adam Malapa, TAC Mopani Communications Officer

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Mopani care workers conducts reading group session

Member of the Mopani team during reading group session at TAC Office

On Friday, 15 July 2011, The Treatment Action Campaign Mopani team of practitioners conducted a reading group session.The aim of the reading group is to create a debate on the current issues, identifying challenges and seeking possible solutions by members of the group. Below is a photograph taken during a reading group conducted by members of Treatment Action Campaign who works in Mopani, Limpopo, under Tzaneen and Letaba area during their weekly reporting meeting at TAC office in Tzaneen.

This is how it works: the team chose a topic or an article of their interest, all members of the group got a chance to read a paragraph or two, after reading the article, the chairperson of the meeting facilitates a discussion out of the topic read.

In this particular session, Equal Treatment (ET) issue 38 was used and  the topic chosen was on page 18 and 19 where the main issues was about adherence and defaulter tracing.

After reading the articles members of the group debated on how can they assist patients to  adhere to treatment while minimising defaulter rate.

Mopani PTLPs during a reading group session, ET 38 was used for this session

For me it was fun to see Lisbeth and Matilda who speaks Sepedi, being able to read Xitsonga and I also noticed that all members of the group were so surprised and have enjoyed the session.

Blog post by Adam Malapa, TAC Mopani Communications Officer

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Why people default from life saving medication-Mopani Practitioners’ Perspectives

Pills which were never opened from one defaulter traced by Oscar

I recently learned about a patient who has defaulted from ARV medication at Dr CN Phatudi Hospital just outside Tzaneen. So I decided to check with other people who are working from health facilities as to what could be the reason for defaulting from life saving medication. I have contacted people from the Greater Tzaneen Local Municipal area, the Greater Letaba Local Municipal area and Greater Giyani Local Municipal area under Mopani District Municipal area in Limpopo. When you read this blog post, you must pay attention on how different explanations links to one another.


Francinah Chauke is one of 20 Prevention Treatment Literacy Practitioners (PTLPs) working for Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) in Mopani District, Limpopo. A PTLP is a community-based educator at a health facility who teaches patients about treatment and prevention. One of the roles of PTLPs is to trace treatment defaulters –people who have recently failed to collect their medication.

In situations like one mentioned above, a PTLP needs to understand why a person has defaulted, and convince him or her to start treatment again. Unfortunately, for some this process occurs too late as HIV or TB may have done too much damage in the time that they have been off treatment.


“The main reason for defaulting is a social grant”, says Chauke. “Most people told me that they felt their grant was going to be terminated if their health improved, so they [would] rather stay unfit to maintain the social grant.”

These pills were never opened by the patient, what a waist of public funds

Oscar Mabela is a TAC PTLP at Dr C N Phatudi Hospital, Limpopo. “The major problem in my area is transport,” he says. “People have to use public transport to get to the facility while they don’t even have food to eat at their homes.” This problem links with the difficulty that Francinah noticed: when people have no food and no money for transport, many would rather stay at home until they are unwell and then apply for a social grant.

“People working on farms mostly do not have the time free to collect their treatment,” says Masingita

Mavodze from Rotterdam. “They would rather not even ask permission from their bosses because they need to protect their jobs”. Some people who migrate from one place to another for work do not even consider getting transfer letters that would allow them to obtain treatment closer to their next job.

During the door-to-door campaign at Mariveni village

In light of these findings, TAC Mopani assigned Chauke to work on local farms, educating people about the importance of taking treatment correctly and on time.

Blog post by Adam Malapa, TAC Mopani Communications Officer

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TAC Community Health Care Worker’s Work in Mopani

The day I went to meet Francinah, it has rained the previous evening and the dusty streets of Mariveni have turned to mud. It was so bad that cars would be at risk of getting stuck. In spite of the muddy roads, Francinah and the TAC Mariveni branch have scheduled door-to-door visits for the day, with the aim of educating the community about gender-based violence.

When I arrive at Mariveni clinic, Francinah is already hard at work. The campaign does not mean that her usual
tasks can be pushed aside. A while later a group of us(Jennifer, Petronella and Francinah) walk from the clinic to Tibabaneni, an extension of Mariveni village alongside a series of banana farms. Here and there we lean on fences to make our way through the worst muddy spots. Francinah pauses to greet an elderly lady in the street and from the way they chat and laugh it is clear that Francinah is a people person.

While at Tibabaneni, everyone gathers for a briefing on the day’s work. Volunteers are paired into teams for house visits, and told that they can call on a PTLP such as Francinah if they encounter any difficult questions that they cannot answer
Other than supporting branch activities like these, a PTLP like Francinah spends most of his/her time in health facilities. Her day-to-day work at the clinic includes:
• Conducting health education sessions. Topics include HIV/AIDS, TB, Prevention of Mother-To-Child Transmission (PMTCT) of HIV, HIV Counselling and Testing, and how to cope with HIV test results.
• Providing one-on-one counselling with patients to encourage proper treatment adherence.
• Tracing those who have defaulted and encouraging them to resume treatment.
• Training and supporting local members of TAC and other organisations in treatment literacy.
“My favourite topic is PMTCT,” says Francinah, “I like PMTCT because I relate it to my personal experience. When I discovered my HIV status, everyone including myself thought I was going to die but a nurse at Mariveni clinic dedicated her time to teaching me about HIV and now I have survived.”

Francinah next to banana farm at Mariveni

“My appointment as a PTLP has been an opportunity for me to reach more people”, she notes. “Through health talks that we provide at the facility, a lot of people have tested for HIV and discovered their status. They are now taking medication and they are healthy. What I like about my job is that it saves people’s lives.” You too can save your life and the lives of your loved ones by testing for HIV today. You should also remember that early testing is key to living a positive lifestyle.

Blog post by Adam Malapa, TAC Mopani Communications Officer

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Mopani’s Staff Team Building

In May 2011, TAC Mopani Staff held their team building at Tzaneen Dam. Office staff and field officers(Prevention Treatment Literacy Practitioners and Community Health Advocates) participated in this exercise.

The theme for the team building was “Building a team to achieve common goals” and it was facilitated by Phillipine Modika from Mopani Department of Education.

Click Mopani Teambuilding to view full report.

Report compiled by Cedrick Nukeri, TAC Mopani District Manager

Blog post by Adam Malapa, TAC Mopani Communications Officer

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NHI, “Meaningless” yet Critical for the “Rural Communities”

Recently, National Health Insurance (NHI) has been a quite interesting topic to chat about for a number of South African citizens, but for me it has been an uncomfortable issue to talk about. As a time went by, is then that I became better confident to share a thing or two about it. For now it’s not about me, but people’s views on NHI implementation in rural settings.

I had an opportunity to chat with few people about NHI in the rural set up and I would like to share with you their thoughts on NHI.

“At the moment, NHI is still meaningless to most of the rural dwellers” This was a comment by Eddy Marilele working for Thohoyandou Victim Empowerment Programme and former TAC Limpopo Chairperson. During the time of the conversation, Eddy was based in Vhembe District at Sibasa, a small town outside Thohoyandou. He further elaborated by saying that, at the moment most of the health care workers, members and leaders of Community Based Organisations (CBOs)and Non-Governmental Organisations does not know anything about National Health Insurance. I have also spoken to several people who confirmed that they didn’t know anything about NHI. Almost everyone I have spoken to have agreed that we need to roll out massive educational campaign about NHI.

Eddy mentioned one other challenge, planned patient transport and road accessibility. Jimmy Mongwe, a member of TAC Dan Branch in Tzaneen also shared the same sentiment when it comes to rural accessibility. ”Without proper road and other infrastructure in rural areas, things will not work right, we will never see improvement” Jimmy said. Before we implement the NHI, infrastructure need to be well considered and rehabilitated. Most of the streets in rural areas are not accessible. In so many instances, Ambulances could stop hundreds of metres away from the patient’s home and the sick person has to be picked on people’s backs or pushed in a wheel barrow to reach the Ambulance.

Check the video below to see how roads are inaccessible in rural communities.


Apart from planned patient transport system Eddy was also worried about the cost of transport for community member in areas where there are no health facilities at all. The money that they will use to go to facilities it will still be the same as paying for the service.

This confirms other social needs associated with health care. For a facility to be reached, roads need to be usable. Not only physical facilities but this also calls for human resources. Our facilities will need to be beefed up with enough personnel to respond to the community demand.

In other hand people could have more benefits in the NHI than not having it. “People will be contributing to the NHI fund, when they get sick they will have an opportunity to be taken care of without worrying about payments” Secret Munyai, from Mailaskop, a first year university student said in his attempt to explain what NHI is. “You will have an opportunity to access health care service in your nearest quality health care provider, whether private or public, people will be provided with an opportunity to get quality health care” That was Mabu Letsoalo, founder of Reakgona National Health Promotion (RANHPO) based in Lenyenye outside Tzaneen Town in the Limpopo Province.

“We will see improved quality health care and I believe that NHI is a good concept for South Africans, especially for rural community and poor people including people working for NGOs not getting any stipends or compensation of some kind” Mabu said, further elaborating his point. “I also believe that there will be reduction in health care workers-patient work load as people will have variety of facility to go for consultation including private facilities”.

Thanks for reading the post and I would appreciate your comments and sharing with others.

See you in the next post.

Mopani September to November Newsletter

Yo, this one is so marvelous, even though it is reporting on critical and things we are not proud of, RAPE, it is a good indication that the community at large is contributing to ending sexual assaults in the communities they are living.

Just Browse though it and tell me what you think of it. Anyway Happy new year, we are still going to update you on the happenings at Mopani District in the beautiful Limpopo Province, the gateway to Africa.

Mopani on Spot Quarter 3 of 2010 Final

TAC Mopani Tzaneen HCT Campaign

Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) in Mopani District together with partner organisations hosted an HIV Counseling and Testing Campaign in Tzaneen Town last month (October 2010). The main activities for TAC members was to mobilise people to go for HIV testing where the actual counseling and pricking was conducted by Hope Humana and Kutso Kurhula at the entrance of Tzaneen Taxi Rank south of Tzaneen crossing mall.

See More Details and photographs here