Research organisation aims to improve patient adherence

Queensburgh Clinic THINK adherence nurse, Nelisiwe Radebe and adherence advocate, Londiwe Ngcobo.

THE TB and HIV Investigative Network (THINK) treatment adherence programme is a tool to assist TB, HIV and diabetes patients stick to their medication and minimise risks of defaulting.

THINK works towards finding improved methods of diagnosis and treatment in the management of HIV and TB in South Africa.

One of the THINK adherence clubs is found at the Queensburgh Clinic, where they follow up on patients that have been on treatment for about a year, add them to the club to motivate, encourage and help them stick to the treatment plan.

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Through research, and in close collaboration with the community, the Department of Health and other stakeholders, THINK enables the relevant populations to receive improved standard of care and to access new treatment. THINK also enables the South African Health Sector to get first-hand experience with new tools in development.

THINK adherence nurse, Nelisiwe Radebe, said this also encourages other patients to take their treatment religiously.

“When patients hear from the club members about the benefits of being in a club it is motivating to them as well and it gives them hope they can conquer they illness.”

According to Radebe, when you test positive you can start medication immediately instead of waiting for a high viral load as it was in the past.

There are 10 clubs at the Queensburgh Clinic with more that 30 members each. This means more than 300 patients are taking their life saving medication on time and with the support of their club members.

The clubs make it easier for patients to collect their medication without having to wait in long queues as the treatment is pre -packed ahead of the collection date.

“People with HIV, TB and diabetes are normal working individuals who have hectic schedules and sometimes spending a day at the clinic is not possible which may lead to them defaulting on their medication,” Radebe said.

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THINKS’s adherence advocate, Londiwe Ngcobo said, “There is a stigma attached to being ill and in the past the clinic would segregate patients according to what they have, this programme aims to change that.”

Ngcobo said this programme will help most diabetes patients who are usually older and wait in long queues is a bit difficult for them.

THINK is visible in most municipal clinics in KwaZulu-Natal.



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Khethukuthula Lembethe-Xulu

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