Nazareth House HIV/Aids Clinic Closes as Gauteng Govt Cuts Aid
Nazareth Care Centre in Yeoville, Johannesburg, has closed its HIV/Aids clinic and hospice after receiving notice that the Gauteng Department of Health will be withdrawing financial support as of March 31.
The clinic catered for over 2000 patients from the local community where anti-retroviral treatment was available for people with HIV/Aids. Patients were also given drug literacy training, received ongoing counselling, and had access to doctors and nurses who could treat the opportunistic infections they might also have.
“All patients have been transferred to other care facilities or to the care of loved ones. These facilities — Alexandra Hospice and Edenvale Hospice — were selected by the Department of Health,” said Nazareth Care African region’s Wayne Devy, CEO.
In addition, the harsh reality of closing a department means that Nazareth House is in the process of staff retrenchments.
“This is an extremely sensitive time for all involved as it means we need to part ways with some very dedicated people in our team,” Mr Devy said. “Retrenching staff who have performed their duties more than satisfactorily over a long period of time is disheartening for all parties involved,” he added.
Staff members who were employed directly by the Department of Health have been reassigned by the department, and staff members retrenched from the hospice or clinic will be considered first should a position open in the other units at Nazareth House in Johannesburg.
Some staff members are already working in the elderly care section, either permanently or as relief workers for staff members who are ill or on leave.
Nazareth Care, through the Sisters of Nazareth based at their Johannesburg house, remains a committed activist of HIV/Aids awareness in Southern Africa.
“We will continue to fund HIV/Aids research initiatives as we partner with organisations which are helping the fight against this epidemic, and will continue to work alongside the Catholic Health Care Association which provides training in HIV/Aids support and anti-retroviral adherence monitoring,” Mr Devy said.
Nazareth Care’s children’s home, elderly care and charity shop remain unaffected by the government cut.
An ongoing need remains for these facilities, said Mr Devy. As winter approaches, Nazareth Care requires dressing gowns, slippers and socks, and basic toiletries for its residents.
“We would like to thank our community for their words of encouragement to our staff, management, and patients,” Mr Devy said.
“We will never give up on the cause. Please keep our HIV/Aids patients, carers and hospice staff in your thoughts during this difficult time.”
Nazareth House, founded by the Sisters of Nazareth, is a non-profit, charitable organisation that has served communities in South Africa for more than 130 years.