Health & HIV / Aids Desk

HIV / Aids Desk

Connexional Health and HIV/AIDS Desk

The medical role of the faith communities as healers has been vital and therefore recognised as such from time immemorial. It is against this background that the church, based on its biblical obligation of being sent out in a mission, has a huge responsibility towards the health of God’s people. The Methodist Church of Southern Africa (MCSA) as reflected in its Mission Charter is committed to a ‘robust response to HIV & AIDS’

The MCSA Connexional desk was established at the height of HIV & AIDS epidemic in the SADC region. The 2005 Methodist Church of Southern Africa (MCSA) responded to the cries of the local and international community to churches and all stake-holders to join in the response to HIV & AIDS. By virtue of MCSA presence over the SADC region, it found itself in the centre of life-threatening HIV burden. The MCSA 2005 Conference took firm resolutions to respond robustly to HIV & AIDS. The HIV & AIDS desk was thus established in the same year and a Connexional Coordinator based within the Mission Unit was given the mandate to coordinate the work of this desk Connexionally. However this desk has also evolved in response to health needs in the world and consequently in the MCSA context. Due to the vicious onset of non-communicable diseases which have become major killers in recent years, Conference 2015 further resolved to expand the work of the desk to include health and it is now the Health and HIV/AIDS Desk.

The desk mandate includes:-

  • Co-ordination of the HIV & AIDS response by the MCSA across all its districts
  • Reporting and sharing information on HIV and relevant issues across the Connexion,
  • Representing the MCSA on relevant Health platforms and mobilizing resources
  • Creating health awareness and preservation thereof through information dissemination and healthy life-styles and health support initiatives
  • Empowering districts and enhancing initiatives for better delivery on health, in line with what the respective ministries of Health, in all six the countries of the Connexion, seek to achieve on the ground through their strategies. She is supported in part by the German United Methodist Church.

Overriding Objectives:

  • Prevention of HIV STIs
  • Care for those who are infected with special focus on treatment adherence and those affected by HIV & AIDS
  • Reducing personal and social impact and encouraging support-group attendance
  • A special focus on orphaned and vulnerable children and people with disabilities
  • Mobilizing resources internationally, regionally with more emphasis nationally

 

 

Structure

The Presiding Bishop is the champion of HIV & AIDS in the MCSA. The Connexional desk Coordinator who reports to the Mission Unit director is based within the Mission Unit along with other mission desks.  All twelve districts of the MCSA Connexion have each a Health & HIV Desk Coordinator (see appendix) at district level. What is still work in progress is the appointment of coordinators for all circuits and societies.

Interventions

  • Home-based health-care & STI’s accredited training for care-givers’ some of them are also licensed to perform finger-prick blood tests.
  • HIV, Chronic illness & TB-Treatment counselling & support carried out by trained care-givers
  • Community-Church-based chronic treatment Pick up Points, in partnership with local hospitals and clinics, at MCSA churches supported by retired nurses- e.g. E.Z. Sikhakhana-Mlazi & Ayliff-Peddie
  • Support-group establishment and management for all those on chronic treatment
  • Adherence clubs run in partnership with local clinics
  • School health-talks carried out by trained care-givers
  • Community dialogues on health and social issues which contribute
  • Directly observed treatment (DOT) and Tracing of treatment defaulters and reinstatement into programme
  • Assistance for clients without legal documents and social grants through reference to relevant service providers or government departments
  • Screening services at all MCSA gatherings
  • Church-based one-stop health & Resource centres e.g. Alberton Methodist, Mashobeni-Swaziland, Hamanskraal-Temba, Diepsloot
  • Schools cluster treatment support programme e.g. Mahamba- Swaziland
  • Counselling services e.g.Katlehong, Diepsloot & Bryanston Methodist churches-Gauteng
  • Resident Palliative–care Centres e.g. Modimo O matla- Hamanskraal & Rea ba Rata-Ficksburg
  • After-care programmes for Orphaned & Vulnerable Children
  • Nutritional Support with food parcels and food gardens
  • Issuing of a yearly MCSA Wellness calendar for the countries of the MCSA Connexion
  • Running HCT and Medical Male Circumcision at some of our sites e.g. Alberton Methodist Church
  • Currently in pursuit of the 90:90:90 Targets for 2020

Activities:

  • Candle-lighting commemoration during the month of February
  • Recognition of Hospice week – to highlight their contribution to health
  • Recognition of Cancer Month
  • Recognition of the Sixteen Days of Activism against Gender-based violence
  • Yearly World AIDS Day commemoration events on the 1st of December which is usually held in partnership with a number of stakeholders starting from the month of November to avoid counter-attraction on the 1st December which is mainly utilized by the government
  • Participating at SA AIDS Conference as well as the international AIDS Conference
  • Participating at the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC)

Documents: