Pursuing extraordinary measures: HSRC impact evaluation report shows that six times more people get tested for HIV in area where the Total Control of Epidemic (TCE) Programme is active
An overwhelming majority (91.9%) of respondents who participated in an intervention programme to educate people on HIV and AIDS in one of 19 areas where the programme is active, said that they could take control of HIV. This entails having a thorough knowledge of the virus, knowing how to avoid being infected, and possessing the ability to decide never to get infected by HIV.
This is one of the many findings of an impact study conducted by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) to evaluate the Humana People to People in South Africa’s HIV and AIDS prevention, care and support programme known as Total Control of the Epidemic (TCE programme). HPP South Africa works hand-in-hand with the South African government, international and local donors and other stakeholders to successfully implement TCE, to combat HIV and AIDS in our country.
The extensive TCE programme has been operating in South Africa since 2002. Currently there are 19 TCE areas around the country, each reaching 100 000 people – a total of 1.9 million people across the country. The programme is active in 5 provinces, namely Mpumalanga, Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and the Eastern Cape. The programme follows an extensive and systematic approach, whereby every single person in a community is reached with HIV and AIDS information in a person-to-person and door-to-door campaign. The idea is that only people can liberate themselves from the epidemic.
The impact evaluation was conducted at two sites – one the Greater Tubatse Municipality (the intervention area) while the matched area was the Elias Motsoaledi Municipality (the control area), a site also based in a cross-border area in the Limpopo province, where the programme is not active. The aim of the evaluation was to determine whether the programme had achieved its goal of empowering people to attain the goal of total control of the epidemic.
Among the findings on the impact of TCE was that an overwhelming majority (91.9%) of respondents in the Greater Tubatse Municipality said that they could take control of HIV. This entails having a thorough knowledge of the virus, knowing how to avoid being infected, and possessing the ability to decide never to get infected by HIV.
Participants self-reported, which implies that the majority of respondents were compliant in terms of the criterion and is an endorsement that TCE has done its job in making people in this area feel totally in control of the epidemic.
With regard to the reach of TCE, 85.3% of respondents in the intervention area compared to 65.3% of respondents in the control area were visited by someone to talk to them about HIV.
Findings also show that although the objective of the programme was that over 50% of people who had been reached by field officers would know their HIV status; and 89.8% said that mobilisation by TCE field officers had significant impact on them getting tested for HIV.
About 62.3% of respondents in the area were tested for HIV compared to 55% in control area. This goal was comparable to the HSRC’s national population-based survey of 2008, where more than 52% of South Africans said they had been tested for HIV and knew their test results. The objective of 50% was reasonable but had been exceeded by 12% in the test area and by 5% in the control area.
Further, approximately 92.9% of respondents in the intervention area said TCE had made lasting changes in their lives in relation to HIV/AIDS; 94.8% said TCE campaign was accepted in the community; 94.4% said TCE was helpful to people on HIV/AIDS matters; and 93.8% said TCE increased their resolve to know their HIV status.
On the one-on-one approach, 94.2% said it helped them take total control of the epidemic and 90.2% said TCE had impact on their sexual behaviour and practice.
The evaluation found that TCE fell short of its objective by 14.3%. Although this objective had not been attained in the intervention area, the programme had done better than all the HIV/AIDS NGOs operating in the control area, it was found that they had only reached 65.3% of the population.
Conclusions drawn by the impact evaluation report is that an overwhelming majority of people in the Greater Tubatse Municipality have taken control of the HIV epidemic and most of them are TCE compliant. The report says TCE has done a good job in making people in Tubatse feel totally in control of the epidemic. It concluded that TCE has done very well in reaching a large majority of people that they had wanted to reach in the in GTM.
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Over the years HPP South Africa has work hand in hand with South African governmental, international and local donors and other stakeholders to successfully implement TCE, thereby working towards combating the wrath of HIV and AIDS in our country.
Founded on the ethos that “Only the people can liberate themselves from HIV epidemic”, Total Control of the Epidemic (TCE) is a unique and systematic approach to empower communities to fight the challenges of HIV and AIDS, with the aim of reaching every single person in an operational area of 100000 people (100 000 people = 1 TCE area) through door-to-door campaigns, individual counselling, and community mobilisation. It involves recruiting and employing community members and training them as peer educators and counsellors responsible for carrying out a campaign of community sensitisation about, and mobilisation against, HIV and AIDS. This systematic intervention reaches every single person within a target area with information, education, counselling and mobilisation to take control of HIV and AIDS. Equipped with a map, a household register, an individual assessment tool (PES), the trained Field Officer walks through their field of 2,000 people, talking, listening, answering questions and facilitating decisions about safe sexual behaviour as well as mobilising people to become volunteers, training peer educators, setting up microenterprises.
About Humana People to People in South Africa
Humana People to People in South Africa (HPP-SA) is a Section 21 Company (No: 95/04741/08) and is also registered as a non-profit organisation (NPO 005-055). HPP-SA is a member-organisation of the Federation of Associations connected to the International People to People Movement (or Humana People to People). The Federation consists of 32 national organisations working in 40 countries, running more than 225 projects (institutions) on 4 continents. More than 12 million people are reached annually in areas of basic health, HIV/AIDS, education, agriculture, environment, relief aid and community development as well as through the second-hand clothes sales and distribution system. The organisation established its operation in South Africa in 1995 in order to respond to the socio-economic needs of underprivileged South Africans.
For interviews with Humana People-to-People and the TCE programme, contact:
• Lone Torbensen, Partnership Director of Humana People to People in South Africa: cell phone 083 312 0795
• Kilford Zimondi, National TCE Coordinator in South Africa: cell phone 076 409 8855.
For interviews on the results of the study, contact:
• Prof. Geoffrey Setswe, Director, Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS and Health research programme, HSRC, 012 3022644, cell phone 0720259875.