A world first in the race to control the HIV epidemic A world first in the race to control the HIV epidemic
Through the power of AI technology, innovation and hard-work, Ugu District in KZN first to achieve HIVAIDS epidemic control PORT SHEPSTONE, South Africa, November... A world first in the race to control the HIV epidemic
left to right Health Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize; Dr. John Sargent, Managing Director of Vantage Technologies and Co-founder BroadReach; KZN MEC for Health, Ms Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu; Dr Ernest Darkoh, Co-founder of BroadReach.

Through the power of AI technology, innovation and hard-work, Ugu District in KZN first to achieve HIVAIDS epidemic control

PORT SHEPSTONE, South Africa, November 27th, 2019,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- Health Minister Zweli Mkhize, today officially announced that the first high prevalence district in South Africa, the Ugu District in Kwa-Zulu Natal (KZN) is declared to be in HIV epidemic control. Ugu has one of the highest HIV infection rates in the world with 27% of the population HIV positive, making the world-first achievement even more remarkable.

The Minister heralded the success as a result of hard work and dedication by the (KZN) Department of Health and thanks to innovative partners – like BroadReach, Vantage Technologies, civil society -and the support of funders PEPFAR and USAID. Ugu has achieved the 90-90-90 targets at the total population level, before anyone else and ahead of the UNAIDS 2020 target!

left to right
Health Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize; Dr. John Sargent, Managing Director of Vantage Technologies and Co-founder BroadReach; KZN MEC for Health, Ms Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu; Dr Ernest Darkoh, Co-founder of BroadReach.

‘We are so proud to have been part of the Ugu journey since 2007, their success is testament to their leadership’s innovation and courage to embrace technology and new ways of thinking to achieve incredible results. Through embracing the power of data they have been able to focus attention on interventions that have real impact and guide their teams to success to save more lives’, says Dr. John Sargent, Managing Director of Vantage Technologies and Co-founder of the BroadReach Group.

What does epidemic control mean and what are the 90-90-90 targets?

In 2013, UNAIDS established an ambitious treatment target to help end the AIDS epidemic. The ’90-90-90′ targets1 as they are known, requires that:

  • By 2020, 90% of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status.
  • By 2020, 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy.
  • By 2020, 90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression.

Ugu’s Performance Against 90-90-90 Targets

The Ugu District in Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa is widely considered to be the epicentre of the disease as; 27% of the 3.1mn people living in the district are HIV-positive2

(national prevalence is 20.6%), and it faces one of the highest prevalence of HIV amongst pregnant women, with 43.4% being HIV-positive3 .
Ugu has achieved the 1st, 2nd and 3rd 90 targets at the total population level: with 93% of the population knowing their status, 90% of the HIV positive population (109,080 people) on anti-retroviral treatment (ART) and 92% of these patients are virally suppressed as of October 2019, meaning they are healthy, and their viral loads are undetectable.
This achievement is no easy feat, especially considering the health resource constraints experienced in the public health sector. BroadReach Consulting has supported the Department of Health (DoH), as a certified implementing partner of Vantage Technologies, utilizing a combination of AI-enabled technology and health program management best practices, to support the KZN DoH to utilize their health resources optimally to help guide them towards achieving their 90-90-90 targets. Through their work with the DoH, they have empowered healthcare leaders with data-driven insights to strengthen their decision-making related to health program management and implement these decisions consistently and at scale.
1Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS); UNAIDS 90-90-90, An ambitious treatment target to help end the AIDS epidemic; 2014.
2Stats SA: Community Survey; 2016.
3The 2017 National Antenatal Sentinel HIV Survey Key Findings, South Africa; PEPFAR, CDC, WHO, Department of Health, South Africa, National Institute for Communicable Diseases, SAMRC; July 2019.


Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of The BroadReach Group.

BACKGROUND

The BroadReach Group was established in 2003 and has been working side by side with the Department of Health since 2007 providing technical support and a host of auxiliary services. The partnership is a result of PEPFAR’s funding of USAID’s HIV epidemic control programs in South Africa. In 2017 BroadReach Consulting (part of the BroadReach Group) started to implement Vantage Technologies* into the district. Vantage is an AI-powered big data platform aimed at bringing effectiveness and efficiencies into health systems. Through giving real time data and step by step workflow recommendations, leadership have greater program oversight and can focus their attention on intervention that will have the greatest impact.

In 2016 Ugu sat on 61%, 65% and 42% across the triple 90 cascade. After 8 months of Vantage implementation the results rocketed to 79%, 76% and 60% respectively as the district started to reap the value of real time data insights and proven recommendation. Staff could be strategically allocated, patients tracked, stock ordered, and targets tracked etc.

Currently, through Vantage, every faciality and every staff member reports their results weekly. This has empowered leadership and staff alike to act in unison with a single point of truth and a common goal. In 2020 the DoH leadership, in partnership with BroadReach Consulting has plans to push results even further in the province and rollout daily staff reporting, this will be another first in the world! KZN is truly leading the way for global HIV epidemic control, using technology as a partner to empower their staff and guide skillful action.

Target 1st 90: testing 2nd 90: initiated treatment 3rd 90:virally supressed
2016 61% 65% 42%
2017 79% 76% 60%
2019-Today 93% 90% 92%

* BroadReach Consulting is a certified implementing partner of Vantage Technologies. The company works with various partners in many African countries, including the Department of Health in Kwa-Zulu Natal and Mpumalanga, South Africa; within the PEPFAR-funded award for USAIDS’s five-year epidemic control program in South Africa, called APACE (Accelerating Program Achievements to Control the Epidemic). BroadReach Consulting’s headquarters are in Cape Town, South Africa. Vantage Technologies is a software development company, headquartered in Switzerland, that leverages big data to help strengthen healthcare systems in emerging economies.

For media queries contact:
Paula Wilson
paula@pwmc.co.za
+27 21 789 1904 or + 27 82 659 9187
www.pwmc.co.za

Source:: African Media Agency

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