The Khayelitsha Project
The Khayelitsha Project was Ubuntu Through Health’s first project and was launched in February 2012 and operated until early 2016.
Khayelitsha is one of South Africa’s fastest growing townships and is located in the Cape Flats, an expansive low-lying area situated to the southeast of the central business district of Cape Town. Khayelitsha has one of the highest burdens of tuberculosis infection across South Africa, with an increasing incidence in drug-resistant strains of the disease. Furthermore, the condition of many of those infected with tuberculosis is exacerbated by co-infection with HIV.
When properly implemented, a treatment for tuberculosis has a 95%+ success rate and prevents the emergence of drug-resistant streams of the disease. However, patient compliance is a major threat to the success of these treatment programs. Additionally, the medications for these diseases produce common side effects including nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite.
For the Khayelitsha Project, Ubuntu Through Health collaborated with the Zakhele clinic, a community health clinic located in Khayelitsha. In the short term, Ubuntu Through Health provided required medical equipment, including diagnostics tools, blood pressure measurement devices and digital thermometers. However, ongoing support was provided via the implementation of the Nutritional Support Initiative.
The Ubuntu Through Health Nutritional Support Initiative involved the provision of a high-energy vitamin and mineral enriched meal (e’Pap) to patients on medication for TB and/or HIV. Patients would receive their e’Pap supply when they attended the clinic for their medication and clinical reviews. The initiative was intended to:
- Increase medication compliance rates by providing a food incentive for patients to take their medication.
- Increase the effectiveness of the prescribed medications by improving an individual’s nutritional status, ensuring appropriate drug absorption and decreasing medication side-effects.
- Decrease the incidence of drug resistant diseases in the community.