Christine du Preez

Hoedspruit Training Trust(Hlokomela)

What does your company do?

Hlokomela is an award winning HIV and AIDS educational and treatment programme targeting workers, including foreign migrants, in the agriculture, nature conservation and tourism sectors in Hoedspruit, Limpopo as well as implementing the Human Rights & Advocacy and Sex Work Programmes across the entire Mopani District. The programme aims to reduce HIV vulnerability through peer education, raising of awareness, prevention and treatment. The programme has a strong sense of sustainability as supported through the successful implementation of its fee-for-service model in Hlokomela’s primary health care facilities which is open to one and all. The project has been running successfully for the past 18 years. An estimated 60 000 people are reached annually through the activities of the programme. • Working with farm management to create a healthier work environment, supported by workplace HIV policies and workplace wellness programmes; • Providing peer education on farms (Nompilos) and in the sex work programme (peer educators); • Training and mentoring of caregivers recruited from the community; • Training, and mentoring male role models to address gender based violence, transactional sex, and poor health-seeking behaviour in men; • Promoting safer sexual behaviour through an integrated social behaviour change communication programme; • Sensitising health care workers, the police and the community towards sex workers and migrant populations; • Promoting healthy lifestyles, condoms, and primary health care services and referrals at fixed clinics and during mobile outreach at; Blyde Clinic, Bavaria Clinic, Richmond Clinic, Klaserie Private Nature Reserve, Ngala, Thornybush, South African Wildlife College, Singita Lebombo, Phelwana Clinic, Elephants Alive, HERD, Camp Jabulani and Kapama. • Monitoring nutritional status and providing malnourished clients with food donated by farmers; • Running a dedicated women’s clinic for cervical and breast cancer awareness, prevention, screening and treatment. • Offering pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to people at risk of acquiring or transmitting HIV. • Offer trauma debriefing to staff and clients through Tension & Trauma Releasing Exercises (TRE), offered at Hlokomela and in the communities by certified TRE providers. • Growing and selling fresh herbs, herb products, and dried fruit in the Hoedspruit and Ba-Phalaborwa area; • External pick up point for patients registered on DABLAPmeds. • Promoting and advocating for human rights among specific key populations. • Provide a safe and secure environment for the elderly of the Hoedspruit area to reside at and interact with others; • Providing services to babies and children up until the age of 14 - immunisations, infant growth and development screening (milestones, MUAC), assisting the mother to start solids with the baby, vitamin A supplementation and deworming.

What is your biggest success?

In 2008 the prevalence of HIV positive patients was 29% in Hoedspruit. Through our awareness interventions over the 18 years, we had a huge impact on the community. When comparing Hlokomela’s HTS (HIV Testing Services) During the period in 2016, (18.83%) tested positive for HIV. In 2017, only (3,72%) tested positive. In 2018, (5%) tested Positive. In 2019, (5.54%) tested positive. In 2020 (2.8%) were positive. in 2021 (2,18%) were positive. In 2022 (2,1%) were positive. In 2023 positive (2%). Director was elected as an Ashoka Fellow in 2014. Providing migrant and residential farm workers in rural areas in South Africa with a set of on-site integrated health solutions, especially related to HIV/AIDS, by employing a peer-to-peer caregiving structure that reinforces behaviour change towards a positive lifestyle. Director received a Recognition Award in London at the Women4Africa Awards UK 2015. This award, in the category International Community Workers Recognition.

What has been your biggest hurdle?

Short term employment contracts. In an NGO fixed term employment contracts are a fact of life, but we struggled particularly to recruit quality professional nurses for some of our projects that were shorter than 12 months. To receive enough funding for the NGO is always a challenge but our partial payment system is slowly becoming a more sustainable project for Primary health care. The fact that there are not reliable referral systems in place to treat our breast cancer patients. After we diagnose breast cancer through our Ultrasound machine the treatment like mastectomies and radiology at government hospitals are a hurdle.