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Monday , June , 29 2020

Humble beginnings to an HIV care leader

New Leadership by Matron Lesley Rose

The HIV clinic at Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital has grown from a weekly clinic, seeing five patients per clinic, to a three-day a week clinic and now the second largest treater of children affected with HIV in the Gauteng. Here is the story of one of the leaders of ARV treatment in the country for children. Dr A Kelly and Sister Annie Jordan founded the HIV clinic in 1993. The clinic comes from a partnership between Wits University and the State hospital. The clinic started out of a need to help infected children and affected families in managing HIV and AIDS. Initially the clinics took place in the specialist clinic of Rahima Moosa Hospital, then known as Coronation Hospital, once a week on Thursdays. Then the clinic saw about 5 patients a week. Soon after 1994 during the country’s transition into a democracy the hospital experienced many changes and reshuffling, so the clinic stopped temporarily.

As the HIV pandemic grew so the need for care became more and more relevant. Seeing this need, the Paediatric Department, under Professor Bolton re-established the clinic to help guide infected children and their families. In 1998 Dr Coovadia took over as manager of the clinic. His vision and tiresome work has seen him at the helm of running the clinic until now. The dedication of the team and its management saw the clinic win its first prestigious award, the Khanyisa award in 2000. This was in recognition for excellent performance and service delivery among the three University hospitals of Chris Hani Baragwanath, Johannesburg General and Coronation Women and Children hospitals, in as far as looking after the needs of HIV-infected and affected children.

The Prevention of Mother To Child Transmission of HIV (PMTCT) programme was implemented in 1997 with the roll out in 2001. As the numbers increased a need arose to cater for the influx of patients. So with this new launch, another clinic day came into being. The clinic now took place on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This, however, was not enough to deal with the general need and space became an issue. So the clinic moved to another area of the hospital, B Block to hold all the patients and Wednesday became another clinic day.

The government imposed the national rollout of ARV treatment to deal with the HIV pandemic in April 2004. This led to a great expansion within the clinic. The workforce expanded to include a multidisciplinary team of social workers, dieticians, doctors, nurses and counsellors.

The clinic celebrated another milestone. It was one of the first in the province to set up the national rollout of ARV’s. As the effects of early treatment began showing signs of longevity in the treated children, many grew into early adolescence. To help these adolescents effectively manage their treatment we introduced an adolescent clinic in 2006. This clinic took place in B block.
Faith Base Initiative (Non - profit Organization)

The good work in the clinic prompted many faith-based organisations (FBOs) to join forces with the hospital to help spread the message of care management.

In 2007 the clinic was awarded second place in the annual Khanyisa award for our work on the adolescent clinic.

In 2008 the clinic in partnership with faith based organisation won first prize in the annual Khanyisa award for the work done in the clinic, for the FBI (Faith Based Initiative) project. The spread of HIV and rise of patients continued to put strain on the clinic’s ability to treat the influx of patients. We renovated the 4th floor of the hospital through sponsorships. In January 2008 the clinic moved to the fourth floor, where it is still running today with Pharmacy designated on ground floor next to transport department.

We conduct a number of programmes throughout the year to help build awareness and educate on HIV care. Some of our programmes include:

• The annual World AIDS day on 1 December

• An annual care-givers day to salute the care-givers.

• An internship programme where we conduct lectures and encourage students to do internships at the clinic.

• A mentorship programme to assist other clinics and give advice.

  • A clinical management programme for paediatric HIV management for nurses within our Region


In 2012 the Kiddies corner was establish. We created an environment where parents and care-givers could deal with stigma and treatment of HIV more openly and honestly. We also created an environment where the children can view the hospital as a place of care and nurturing. This project won second prize in the CEO Gala event which was held at the end of November 2012.

Compiled by A. Jordan Date: 11 October 2013

Modified 20 March 2017