10.20.15 By Sanofi Le Hub
A much-needed healthcare center has opened in rural KwaZulu Natal thanks to Sanofi South Africa and the Tobeka Madiba Zuma Foundation (TMZF). The Official Handover Ceremony (picture above) took place in presence of the President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, First Lady Tobeke Madiba Zuma, and Deputy Minister Joe Phaahla, MEC for Health Kwa Zulu Natal, Dr. Dhlomo.
The new integrated tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS centre in Manxili, located in rural KwaZulu Natal, supports a community of more than 13,000 people who were without access to local medical services. Prior to the opening of the center, residents of Manxili had to go to Nquthu – some 62 kilometres away – to access a healthcare facility, or wait for fortnightly visits from a mobile clinic. This had led to regular instances of complications and infections that would have been entirely preventable with more accessible medical support.
More than 300,000 new cases of tuberculosis are reported annually in South Africa, with the disease killing more than 25,000 people each year. When combined with HIV, it is responsible for the deaths of another 64,000 South Africans. The country has one of the world’s highest HIV rates and 62% of people with tuberculosis also have HIV.
The center, built on land donated by the Traditional Leadership, was inaugurated in September 2015 and donated to the KZN Health Department who will oversee its running in conjunction with its other health clinics.
Indeed, following up with the Manxili TB/HIV clinic, the KwaZulu Natal Government has accelerated infrastructural development in Manxili, by building an additional clinic to provide comprehensive primary healthcare services, and prioritized the building of roads, installation of water infrastructure and electricity in Manxili, bringing much needed social and infrastructural development in this rural area.
Among other services, the new center provides integrated HIV and tuberculosis counselling and screening, plus treatment initiation, literacy classes, family planning advice and support, sexually transmitted disease management, and a range of services specific to children.
Over 1000 people attended the ceremony which has a festive atmosphere with choirs and local Zulu dancers.
Over the past number of years, Sanofi has been committed to going further in supporting local communities, including sponsoring students, often orphans from HIV families in pursuing studies.
‘As an industry, we can’t simply be critical of the state of the South African health care system, we have to contribute to finding solutions, be a contributor and provide medicines which are critical to the South African community. As a pharmaceutical company, we have got to do more than merely push pills. We have to create patient healthcare solutions with all healthcare stakeholders.’ Highlighted John Fagan, General Manager for Sanofi in South Africa. The Manxili center forms part of Sanofi’s ongoing commitment to eradicating tuberculosis in South Africa.
Sanofi already partners with the South African Department of Health for initiative, which was rolled out across the country following a €15 million donation from Sanofi.
TB FREE concentrates on adherence to treatment outcomes, plus education and awareness campaigns. It also works to address the challenges of managing the so-called twin diseases of tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, and to help manage patients with tuberculosis and diabetes co-morbidities.
The TMZF-Sanofi partnership works on strategic projects in the areas of tuberculosis, HIV/Aid, and breast and cervical cancer initiatives.
The Manxili healthcare center is their latest joint initiative following the 2014 opening of an upgraded high-care ward at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital that now provides chemotherapy treatment for cancer patients
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