US Embassy visits Hospice

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Klerksdorp Midweek, Klerksdorp - How can community support change your journey as a person living with HIV? 

In Kanana community members will tell you that the care and support they receive from Hospice Matlosana has made all the difference.

Alissa Dolan, PEPFAR Public Diplomacy Specialist, and Chris Marais, Information and Media Specialist for Public Affairs at the US Embassy in Pretoria, visited Hospice Matlosana last week to hear first-hand how US funding enables the organization’s caregivers to provide personalized and lifesaving care.

The Director of Hospice Matlosana, Morongwa Taje talked about the organisation’s inner workings and the incredible staff who dedicate their lives to helping their community.

After a greeting of jubilant song and prayer, members Petrus Ramaisa, Grace Mpongani and Fabiana Hloma shared how caregivers had nursed them back to health, in more than one instance teaching a group member how to walk again.

Hospice Matlosana is supported by the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (US PEPFAR), a government program conducted in collaboration with the Government of South Africa, community-based organizations, South African NGOs, civil society, and people living with HIV to provide HIV prevention and treatment services.

The programme currently supports 56 community-based organisations throughout South Africa, including Hospice Matlosa-na.

This grant funds stipends for home-based caregivers serving approximately 520 beneficiaries, support group facilitators, an auxiliary social worker, and transportation and supply costs.

The organisation operates in four primary communities around Klerksdorp: Khuma, Alabama, Jouberton, and Kanana.

Participation in the support group not only provided critical information about living with HIV and making healthy choices, but also empowered participants to accept their status and adhere to their HIV treatment.

With this knowledge and acceptance, several members talked about how they have been able to help their neighbours and friends who are also living with HIV to overcome treatment fatigue and live healthy and fulfil-ling lives. 

Beyond care and social support, group members learn crafting skills that they use to make goods to be sold to provide for their families. The group even maintains a community garden. 

The programme has partnered with South Africans in the HIV response since 2004, investing more than R80 billion in HIV programs here.

Community-based organisations like Hospice Matlosana are critical in providing support for people living with HIV on lifetime treatment and an indispensable part of efforts to control the HIV epidemic.