In 1996 Cotlands open 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.
Now, nearly 16 years later there is no longer a need for this service as South Africa has made significant strides in curbing infant infections. “We are pleased to announce that there has been a massive decline in the number of HIV infected children in South Africa. In our practice we have seen the numbers drop consistantly over the past few years,” said Jackie Schoeman Cotlands CEO.
As the number of infant infections decreased Cotlands re-evaluated its purpose in South African and is now addressing a crucial gap in society. Read more about the transition.
Cotlands paediatric AIDS hospice history:
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 convert its Gauteng hospice into a child care unit.
“The decision to close the hospice was a difficult but welcomed one. It is a testament to the positive effects of ARV treatment and PMTCT programs. Converting our AIDS hospice in Gauteng has allowed us to broaden our services to a wider range of vulnerable children,” said Cotlands CEO Jackie Schoeman.
The world health organisation announced the Getting to Zero campaign last year. The 5 year theme calls for zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS related deaths.
This push towards greater access to treatment for all has spurred Cotlands to increase its health care services to communities to equip families to better care for their children.
“While there is much work to be done especially in areas such as rural KZN, we are encouraged by the zero death rate in our Gauteng project and remain confident that we will see the same results in our various projects across the country,” added Schoeman.