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HOPE Community Health Workers

HOPE Cape Town realised that the true need for early and on-going intervention is evident in communities in and around Cape Town. We then started recruiting individuals from communities, focussing on previously disadvantaged communities where resources and services are limited. HOPE Cape Town appoints and trains these community members to work as Community Health Workers at the local day hospital and clinics within the communities where they come from.

Not only do these Community Health Workers increase the capacity at these hospitals and clinics significantly in respect of ancillary medical treatment and care, but they also provide awareness and training services within their communities. This in itself assists with amplification of awareness with the prevention campaign in respect of HIV/AIDS.

The role of the HOPE Cape Town Community Health Workers with respect to HIV includes:

  • Prevention
    • Educational talks at clinics, visits to schools, distribution of condoms and pamphlets
  • Testing
    • Pre- and post-test counselling
  • Treatment
    • Counselling about telling other people about their HIV status (disclosure)
    • Support groups
    • Treatment of opportunistic infections, like Tuberculosis
    • Education about ARVs
    • Adherence counselling

One HCHW is therefore able to participate in all HIV interventions, as well as able to deliver basic primary health care services. For example, a community health worker can advise on other important components of health care such as regular cervical screening (pap smears) for women with HIV.

Other major work areas of Community Health Workers include:

  • Tuberculosis (TB) testing
  • Child care services (including immunization and nutrition)
  • Family planning
  • Sexually Transmitted Infections
  • Cervical screening (pap smears)
  • Implementation of community development projects such as gardening projects, support groups and child development groups