In 1996 Cotlands, with the help of John Robbie and a 702 radiothon, opened South Africa’s first children’s AIDS hospice. This landmark venture offered HIV positive children round the clock care and a place to die with dignity.
Today, 16 years later, Cotlands hosts 702 once again this time, to close the hospice and open the Child Care Unit.
“We are thankful to John Robbie and the 702 team for acknowledging our success and for being a part of this next phase of our journey,” said Cotlands CEO, Jackie Schoeman.
The Cotlands hospice cared for hundreds of HIV positive children and saw many deaths in its initial years.
In 2003 Cotlands opened its second hospice unit in the Western Cape and began implementing Antiretroviral Treatment for infected children at both centres.
As leaders in the field, Cotlands set the benchmark in caring for children infected and affected by HIV/AIDS.
Through regular monitoring and evaluation systems the organisation was able to improve on its methods of care and adapted its work to service a larger beneficiary base by offering home based care to vulnerable families.
Together with governments preventing mother to child transmission program and Gauteng’s effective rolling out of ARV’s Cotlands has seen a noticeable decline in infected children. Cotlands has also noted the positive effects of treatment on infected children and has concluded that children who respond well to ARV treatment are able to live longer and much healthier lives.
Over the past three years Cotlands has recorded zero HIV/AIDS related deaths. This has resulted in yet another landmark decision. In 2011 Cotlands took the decision to transform its Gauteng hospice into a child care unit.
“The decision to close hospice was a difficult but welcomed one. It is a testament to the positive effects of ARV treatment and PMTCT programs. The conversion of our AIDS hospice in Gauteng has allowed us to broaden our services to a wider range of vulnerable children,” said Cotlands CEO Jackie Schoeman.
To mark this momentous occasion, Cotlands has invited 702’s John Robbie back to officially close hospice and open its newly refurbished Child Care Unit. The new unit serves as a temporary safe haven for abandoned children awaiting foster or adoptive families.
“This is a remarkable achievement and something to be proud of. By adapting its services Cotlands is growing with South Africa. We have an initiative called Lead South Africa, which is just about people who say “I can make a difference in my own way” and I think what Cotlands does epitomizes what Lead SA South Africa is all about ” said John Robbie at the opening ceremony.
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