Testing of learners in the Eastern Cape

CAPE TOWN, 26/03/2018 – We understand the concerns of parents in the PE community.  We are working closely with all stakeholders to find the best solution towards improving the lives of young people affected by HIV.  Due to the sensitivity and emotive nature of the matter, it is critical that calmness is retained to allow us to establish the facts. A full investigation is underway,  Kheth’Impilo views the allegations of a breach in confidentiality in a very serious light and commit to address and act on any breach of confidentiality lawfully, pending the outcome our investigation.

Client confidentiality and the best interest of children remain our priority.  Our operations are executed strictly in accordance with the law and programs are designed and implemented within the ambit of all applicable laws and regulations.

The current program is implemented in partnership with the Department of Basic Education. All schools in the program have been allocated by the Provincial Department of Basic Education and we confirm the program is not implemented with schools which have not been approved by The Provincial Department of Basic Education.

Parental Consent: The Children’s Act and the National Health Act give children over the age of 12 the right to medical treatment including HIV testing. We believe that caregivers are central to the lives of children and hence encourage children to have open relationships with their parents and to discuss testing with them. The letters of consent are sent home to inform parents that the testing services will be available and to give them opportunity to discuss testing with their children.  However, if a parent does not sign and a child over 12 years requests a test, it is their legal right and our duty to provide the test. Participants in the program are encouraged to know their status.

Infringing the Right of the child:  The approved standard operating procedures for HIV testing require that only the person testing and the health care worker are present when the actual test is done. These are the standards the Kheth’Impilo testing staff are required to adhere to. Mobile testing stations, as an accepted modality, are setup to allow for confidential counselling and testing. A professional nurse is on site to do a positive confirmation.

Provision of Pre-Test and Post-Test counselling: Testing cannot happen without the client being counselled prior to the test. Staff follow and ask pre-determined questions with no deviations allowed. The Health Care Worker explains to the client the steps that will be followed during the testing and the purpose and use of the HIV test kit during the process. On completion of the test, post-test counselling is provided by the Health Care Worker for negative tests. Post-test counselling is done by a Professional Nurse for those who test positive. Registers are completed for each process that have been completed.

Testing of learners: This program is part of the 90-90-90 strategy which focuses on the importance of knowing your status and accessing treatment where needed. We further aim to assist young people to make informed, healthy choices so that they can complete school, remain HIV negative, access health care and treatment. Those testing positive have the opportunity access care and treatment early before getting sick – so that they can remain healthy to complete school and thereby also live a long and healthy life. That is The Essence of Our Existence – Kheth’Impilo – which means choose health or choose life.  We remain committed to promote healthy lifestyles and the ability to make healthy choices.

Kheth’Impilo remains committed to fully cooperate with any investigation.

For more information contact:

Mr Shane Everts, Marketing and Communications, Mr Vincent Titus, Head of Community Services at 021 410 4300 or direct any queries in writing to info@khethimpilo.org

ABOUT KHETH’IMPILO

 Kheth’Impilo AIDS Free Living is a national Public Benefit Organisation with section 18A exemption status. We are uniquely positioned to address HIV/AIDS in the high prevalence districts through-out South Africa. Our mission is to support the South African Government in achieving its goals to scale up quality services for the management of HIV/AIDS in the Primary Health Care sector as outlined in the National Strategic Plan. Our comprehensive health care solutions include prevention, care, treatment, and support for people infected and affected with HIV and TB, supported by a range of community based models of care that include community HIV testing, community based adherence support, early childhood development, school health and accredited training. Please visit www.khethimpilo.org