Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Arts.Advocacy+Wellness: "Torya and Her Notes on Ubuntu"

No Longer Alone

Thembeka sits in the lobby of KwaZakhele Day Hospital,

nervously picking at the band-aid on her finger. The harsh halogen lighting frames her delicately lined face—lines carved from the worry of caring for her six-year-old daughter, and the recent news that she is pregnant again. She has felt poorly for several weeks, with a cold she just can’t shake, and as she waits for the results of her Rapid HIV test, she’s never felt more alone than she does right now.

In 2010, we will open The Ubuntu Centre, a state-of-the-art health and education center

located in Port Elizabeth. The cornerstone of this facility will be the Pediatric HIV Clinic, set to open in July. At the new Clinic, women like Thembeka will no longer feel isolated. Until the Clinic is complete, Ubuntu has created a comprehensive pre- and post- test counseling service for women like Themebka at our offices in Zwide Township. After first consenting to a test, she will discuss HIV and risk factors with an Ubuntu counselor. The test is not performed until the patient is provided the proper information and is psychologically prepared. After the nurse takes blood, the patient is read her results. Ubuntu ensures that all clients also receive post-test counseling once the results are known, which is seldom performed at government clinics.

The new Ubuntu Pediatric Clinic, chiefly designed to serve HIV-positive children (up to 18 years old) and their caregivers, will feature a confidential reception and waiting area, an on-site laboratory, and a pharmacy that will dispense ARV and drugs for managing side effects. The Clinic will also serve the newborn children of women like Thembeka, performing follow-up testing on infants using specific pediatric tests. Status information is only part of what is needed; making sure that young mothers know how to stay healthy, and keep their children healthy, is what Ubuntu Education Fund has identified as crucial in changing a child’s life.

Our Clinic will enable Ubuntu to directly and holistically improve

the health of future generations of South Africans. While visiting the Clinic cannot guarantee negative HIV results, it can ensure that families affected by HIV and AIDS receive high quality services.

To see additional photos of the construction of The Ubuntu Centre Clinic, please visit

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