Dear HACT Friends and Supporters,
In these unexpected and unprecedented times, I would like to take this opportunity to update you on HACT’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Firstly, I would like to reassure all our supporters, beneficiaries and partners that HACT is taking proactive steps in our response to COVID-19 to promote the health and safety of all our staff, volunteers and of course, our beneficiaries who are amongst those most vulnerable and at risk within our communities. Key to our response to date has been a programme of disseminating clear and accurate information from official and trusted sources amongst our staff, beneficiaries and the communities in which we work, in particular, the importance of good hygiene, social distancing and adhering to their HIV medication if they are HIV positive.
Measures implemented at HACT to date in response to COVID-19
Below is the list of measures our dedicated team have been implementing over the past few weeks in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As you can appreciate, this has and continues to be a rapidly evolving situation, but rest assured, our responses have closely followed the latest Government public health advice at all times.
- A comprehensive prevention education campaign on site and within the communities in which we work – good hygiene, instructing and modelling appropriate behaviours (hand washing, staying home if sick, knowing when to contact healthcare providers, etc.)
- A key part of our community health campaigns over the past few weeks has also been to remind people who are immune compromised (those who are HIV positive with low CD4 counts and those who are defaulting treatment) that they may be more at risk, including those who have had a previous (or current) TB infection and may have damaged lung tissue. For these individuals, our team has stressed the critical importance of social distancing and follow the advice provided.
- Increased sanitation measures for hand washing and additional cleaning regimens across all areas of our Centre
- Sanitation, hygiene and infection control measures tightened further at our Respite Unit
- Limiting our Respite Unit patients’ visitors to immediate family only
- The centre remains off-limits to groups of visitors or external groups
- Increasing our adherence counselling activities and urging anyone who is HIV positive to stay on their ARV treatment
- We have asked anyone who may pose a risk, not to visit the Centre especially if they have been feeling unwell (i.e. experiencing COVID-19 symptoms) or recently travelled or been exposed to someone who is having flu-like symptoms
- Upcoming group events such as our Goals for Life soccer tournaments and annual Gogolympics event have been cancelled and our life skills and peer education programmes in local primary and high schools have already been halted with the closure of all SA schools.
NB: With South Africa’s newly announced 21-day lock down period which is set to commence at midnight on Thursday the 26th March 2020, all of our community-based projects, programmes and campaigns will be temporarily suspended and our Woza Moya craft shops, Plant Nursery, Ubuntu Ground Cafe and administration offices will be closed.
Communication with the Centre can still be made via our email address: firstname.lastname@example.org as this email address will be monitored throughout the lockdown period. For any emergencies you can contact our Respite Unit line: (031) 765 4868. HACT’s Facebook page will keep supporters up-to-date with developments and/or urgent requests.
Please continue to support our efforts and DONATE
All of HACT’s income-generating projects are set to close over the upcoming lock-down period and have already been severely impacted by fewer customers. Key fundraising events and campaigns such as our annual Goals for Gogos Golf Day and the 2020 Comrades Marathon campaign are also set to be postponed or suspended. As such, it is safe to say we will be relying on the ongoing and generous support of our donors and sponsors more than ever over the comings months.
In terms of our urgent funding needs, our 24-bed Respite Unit and outpatient testing services will remain open for critically ill patients who have nowhere else to go during the lock down period and beyond and we fully expect these life-saving services to become even more essential as our local healthcare system is put under additional strain over the coming months. We feel it is our duty to keep these services open and continue to serve those most vulnerable in our community, especially in such a time as this.
Once-off donations can also be made safely and securely from anywhere in the world via our website, and will enable our team to purchase medicine and other urgent supplies.
For those who are HIV positive and may be immune compromised, please click here for an informative FAQ on COVID-19 & HIV.
For more information and advice on #Covid19sa, please make use of the following resources:
National COVID-19 Hotline: 0800 029 999
Send ‘hi’ on WhatsApp to COVID-19 Connect: 060 012 3456
Visit the website www.sacoronavirus.co.za
On behalf of all at HACT, we thank you for your support and enabling us to continue providing unconditional love and hope to those most vulnerable and in need during these trying times.
Please stay safe and look after your loved ones and yourselves. God bless you.
In peace and solidarity,
CEO Hillcrest AIDS Centre Trust