IOM, USAID Launch Expanded HIV Prevention and Care Programme for Migrants and Host Communities in South Africa
IOM and USAID, with funding from the US President's Emergency Plan
for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), are to expand to 2016 the Ripfumelo
project addressing HIV vulnerability of farm workers in South
Africa's Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces.
The USD 7.1 million Ripfumelo II project, which will cover
selected districts in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal provinces, aims to
scale up HIV prevention and care interventions for traveling and
migrant populations, including labour migrants, mobile workers and
irregular migrants, and the communities that they interact with.
Ripfumelo means "believe" in Tsonga.
Thousands of migrants flee political and economic turmoil in
neighbouring countries to find a better life working on South
African farms. But many are vulnerable to exploitation and have
limited access to health care. Health risks include overcrowded
living conditions and few recreational outlets, which increase
their exposure to infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS and
More than 20,000 migrants have gained access to health services
through the USD 4.6 million Ripfumelo project since it started in
2009. The extension to 2016 will aim to reach more
hard-to-reach migrant farm workers and new geographical areas,
while accelerating TB and AIDS prevention, counselling and
"The new project supports the Government of South Africa's
National Strategic Plan (NSP) to reduce HIV and TB incidence and
mitigate related impact to achieve the ultimate goals of Zero New
Infections," says USAID Activity Manager Mathata Madibane.
The NSP identifies migrants as a key population to target with
HIV, STI (Sexually Transmitted Infections) and TB programmes, due
to their high risk of communicable diseases and challenges in
accessing health services.
"Ripfumelo did good work in the commercial farming sector to
provide comprehensive HIV& AIDS prevention and care services.
But it will take our collective efforts to overcome this AIDS
pandemic," says Community Service Manager at Vhembe District
Municipality Alex Nemakode.
"The Ripfumelo project is a strategic partnership with NGOs and
government at all levels that facilitates access to health services
and programmes, specifically HIV, STIs and TB prevention, care and
support services. It addresses structural barriers to reduce
vulnerability and generates strategic information for
evidence-informed policy development and programming," says IOM
Migration Health Regional Coordinator and Acting Chief of Mission
in South Africa Dr Erick Ventura.
"Although South Africa has inclusive policies and programmes,
implementation of those remains a challenge at local level.
Ripfumelo II will contribute to bridging that gap between policy
and practice. Over the past three years, USAID and PEPFAR have
supported IOM to build extensive networks and collaboration with
various stakeholders, including government, to ensure accessibility
and availability of services and programmes to the hard-to-reach
populations such as farm workers," says Madibane.
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