Residents in Maboloka, Madibeng, in the North West Province, will soon have access to an HIV/AIDS Mobile Testing Centre, thanks to the Embassy of Japan’s Grant Assistance for Grass-roots Human Security Projects (GGPs) initiative.
The handover ceremony of the mobile clinic will take place November 29, 2018, with the attendance of the Executive Mayor of Madibeng Local Municipality, Councillor Justine Mothibe; Chief of Maboloka, Morena L.E. Lion; as well as the Sub-District Manager for the Department of Health, Mr Ishmael Moloi, among others.
The mobile clinic and its equipment of R400,000 will be donated to the Maboloka HIV/AIDS Awareness Organisation (MAHAAO). This is a non-governmental organisation which has long been offering community-based HIV testing services and counselling in collaboration with the Department of Health in the Province.
Mr Taro Sawada, a Japanese diplomat for political and public affairs, who will hand the mobile clinic over to MAHAAO, says the mobile clinic will move to different rural communities.
“Especially in remote areas, having access to medical services is a big issue, and I think mobile medical units such as MAHAAO’s can provide solutions in addressing the gap in access. The mobile clinic funded by Japan will enable MAHAAO to treat more than 150 people per month in different areas,” Sawada explains.
The wide prevalence of HIV and AIDS is one of the biggest health issues facing South Africa. According to the statistics by UNAIDS, South Africa has the largest HIV epidemic in the world, with 19% of the total population living with HIV. The ratio is extremely high among sex workers.
“In addressing the high number of new HIV infections, especially among the younger generation, having a basic knowledge about the disease is important. To this end, we are proud to be assisting MAHAAO in providing residents with comprehensive services ranging from HIV testing, medical treating to education, by effectively organising the mobile unit,” added Sawada.
This handover of the mobile clinic is the latest in the series of Japan’s GGPs initiatives.
“To date, over 630 GGPs have been implemented throughout South Africa with the aim of helping address educational and health service, vocational training and other basic human needs at a grassroots level. In fact, this is not the first time for us to collaborate with MAHAAO, as we donated a vehicle in 2008 with a view to enhancing its service delivery operations to HIV/AIDS patients.”
Embassy of Japan will also donate a medical facility as well as equipment to the obstetrics and gynaecology sections at the Jane Furse Memorial Hospital in Limpopo. This is with the aim of improving maternal and newborn health. The facilities and equipment are to the tune of R1 million, and the handover ceremony will take place at the hospital on 30 November 2018.
“A unique aspect of Japan’s GGP initiative is that once critical issues facing a particular community have been identified, we try to address those issues by empowering reliable community-based partners. Even though it might take some time to overcome the challenges, we think handing over ownership to the local community is very important in the long term. In short, empowering local communities is what we intend to promote through our GGP initiatives,” concluded Sawada.