The Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation (DTHF) has an active presence in our local communities in Cape Town. Vuyiseka Mpongoshe has completed a pilot study examining how our presence is felt in these communities to see if we are leaving a lasting impression.
There is no doubt that the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation has a lot of value in community settings: we send free condoms and other family planning tools into communities as well as STI testing, treatment and counselling. Additionally, DTHF has raised relief for the recent fires and floods and pooled together food and clothing donations for those affected. Our outreach programs: the Youth Centre and the Women of Worth programs create valuable spaces for discussion and work.
Historically, DTHF has an exceptional academic CV, with reams of high-quality research pouring out the Foundation every year. The leading staff have fought government regulations to make HIV treatment accessible to everyone as soon as infection begins and our patron, the Archbishop Desmond Tutu, won a Nobel Peace Prize.
With all the hard work that goes on in the Foundation, it is difficult to get out all the details on our outreach, our TB research, HIV prevention initiatives, HIV treatment programs, our free mobile services, the Youth centre facilities, all the clinical trials going on at over five medical sites across Cape Town and just generally what it is that the 450 employees here get up to!
Mpongoshe created a proposal for finding out how the DTHF can ensure that their work is having the maximum impact within the community. As an NGO, we want to create the maximum value for the users of our services. Feedback and satisfaction with our services are paramount in ensuring that outreach interventions, such as mobile clinic services or community workshops, have the maximum benefit.
These questionnaires were tested at the Masiphumelele clinics. A pilot of 10 people were questioned. From these, 6 knew about DTHF and most people had heard from word of mouth. Three didn’t know what we did exactly and some knew about our family planning services.
The cohort knew that our clinic is efficient and will take some of the load from the clinics so the queues for healthcare are shorter. Some considered that our presence in the community had reduced the rates of HIV and pregnancy. They also liked the Youth Centre which prevents children from roaming the streets; Instead, they go to organised hikes and other events. This knowledge is fairly good, it shows that our presence is having an impact, however, it could be better. These relationships are essential in spreading awareness or taking part in studies.