The Gertrude’s Hospital Foundation supports the Sunshine Smiles clinic, with previous assistance from Pathfinder International, through APHIA Plus (AIDS Population & Health Integrated Assistance Programme). The clinic attends to about 2,500 enrolled patients who comprise of both adults and children. The patients receive a wide range of free services, including HIV treatment, care and support, laboratory tests, treatment of opportunistic infections, prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) and nutrition services. The program also takes care of the largest group of adolescents living with HIV in the country. This group comprises of over 200 adolescents aged 10 to 21 years.
The hospital’s social workers, with the help of Community Health Workers (CHWs), carry out home visits so as to ensure that the HIV positive and Tuberculosis (TB) patients adhere to their medication and have a positive home environment to recuperate. The social workers and CHWs also issue food baskets to families that are at risk of hunger and starvation, especially when the breadwinner of a family is unwell and is not able to provide for the family.
In addition, the local community, through a network of Community Health Workers (CHWs) and Expert Patients, help to accelerate access to care by encouraging partners and the rest of the family to be tested for HIV, in identifying infants of HIV positive parents for early identification and treatment and assist in the follow up of the pregnant mothers who attend the antenatal care (ANC) clinic for elimination of mother-to-child-transmission (eMTCT) services. The Foundation’s network of CHWs and Expert Patients is supported by the Paediatric AIDS Treatment for Africa (PATA), a South Africa-based NGO that promotes and facilitates improved access to high quality holistic care for HIV-infected children, their families and communities.