2010. 30 p.
South Africa. Department of Health
South Africa. Department of Social Development
<p>Over time, it has become apparent that the HIV/AIDS epidemic is adversely affecting the South African population. Public servants are responsible for providing services to all sectors of society. In the same way that educators are critical to the schooling of South Africa's youth, health workers are critical to the implementation of a successful public health response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in South Africa, and yet public servants may be as susceptible to this epidemic as the general population. In the wake of health care staff shortages in the public sector and increased levels of HIV/AIDS-related morbidity and mortality within the general population, concern over the readiness of the public health sector to deal with increased patient burden prompted stakeholders to assess the impact of HIV/AIDS on public healthcare personnel. The objective of the assessment was to generate information that could contribute to formulating a suitable response and help anticipate future demand for this segment of the workforce. Our research team carried out a voluntary, anonymous HIV seroprevalence survey among professional and support staff at Helen Joseph and Coronation Hospitals in Gauteng, South Africa. Blood samples were further tested to measure CD4 cell counts. Knowledge of the CD4 cell count distribution provides an indication of what percentage of workers are at increased risk of opportunistic infections, such as tuberculosis, and what percentage of workers have AIDS and are eligible to receive antiretroviral therapy (ART). The seroprevalence survey at Helen Joseph and Coronation Hospitals was very successful. More than 83 percent of nurses and allied healthcare workers volunteered to participate. Survey results were disseminated widely both among participants and to hospital managers, health department officials, and other interested parties. The methodology used for the survey can be applied to other health care facilities and many other public sector workforce settings. This research toolkit offers a step by step description of the procedures used during the seroprevalence survey and the lessons learned in our research.</p>
Record created by: