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Riedwaan Jabaar’s GP Care Cell programme launched by the SA Government and USAID

Riedwaan Jabaar

On 29 November 2017, the Foundation for Professional Development (FPD) proudly announced the launch of its GP Care Cell in Atteridgeville, Tshwane, by the Gauteng Health MEC, Dr Gwen Ramokgopa. The launch will take place at Dr Shange’s practice, one of the five GPs involved in the initial stages of the one year pilot.

FPD is funded on a six-year award by PEPFAR through USAID to work in partnership with the Department of Health to strengthen health systems for improved HIV and TB patient outcome.  The GP Care Cell is an innovative idea emerging from this partnership which aims to expand access to uninsured People Living with HIV who are currently missed by the public sector ART programme due to access-related barriers at public sector clinics.  The GP Care Cell is a collaboration between the Gauteng Provincial Department of Health (DOH), FPD and PPO Serve.  It is designed to leverage the capacity of private general practitioners (GPs) to create additional HIV Testing Services (HTS) and ART initiation, management and retention capacity outside of public sector health facilities in a controlled manner.

The GP Care Cell model organises a number of GPs — with and without dispensing licenses — and community pharmacies into a network, i.e. care cells, in order to provide high-quality HIV services in line with standard treatment guidelines.  Through the GP Care Cell model, private GPs will provide HIV clinical services with state-funded pharmacy and laboratory services to uninsured People Living with HIV (PLHIV) in line with the DOH Standard Treatment Guidelines (STGs).  The model is designed to seamlessly interact with state-funded Supply Chain Management (SCM) processes and NDOH’s Visibility & Analytics Networks (VAN).  FPD and its affiliate organisation, PPO Serve, will assume management and quality assurance responsibility for the contracted GPs and community pharmacies, as well as the model’s integration and alignment with DOH structures, policies and guidelines, systems and processes.  The Gauteng DOH will fund all medicines, HIV test kits and laboratory services.  The GP consultation fees and the GP/pharmacy dispensing fees will be subsidised through FPD’s existing USAID award, funded by PEPFAR.

The short-term goal of the GP Care Cell pilot project is to test the GP Care Cell model and its capacity to create additional HIV Testing Services (HTS) and ART initiation, management and retention capacity outside of public sector health facilities in a controlled manner.  The long-term goal of the GP Care Cell model is to organise networks of private general practitioners to enable the healthcare system to find patients who otherwise cannot be reached nor achieve high treatment compliance.  By expanding State-subsidized HIV service offerings, GPs may assist to help find these patients and help close South Africa’s substantial ART treatment gap.  These are prerequisites necessary to, cost-effectively, end the AIDS pandemic.

The pilot project will be accompanied by a rigorous programme evaluation in order to assess its value-add, its costs and inform its viability for replication, scaling and future funding from both donors and National Health Insurance (NHI).  Based on findings and recommendations from the evaluation, the model may be funded using alternative funding sources (Donor, DOH, NHI) with an aim to leverage the model to manage a predetermined number of patients in line with a set clinical scope of practice as part of the broader District Health System’s response.

The pilot is planned for Tshwane District, Gauteng Province, with an aim to expand from five to twenty to fifty doctors.  Based on results of the pilot, the programme may be considered for scaling across the country.

For more information contact:
Suzanne Johnson
Cell:  +27 (0)76 974 5908
Email: SuzanneJ@foundation.co.za


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