Original community story published on the Health GAP website here.
Thakane is living with her only son in Welkom, South Africa. One day when she arrived at the clinic, she was told that her usual HIV medicines were out of stock. Instead she was given alternatives that were difficult to take and gave her many side effects.
It shouldn’t be this difficult to get the treatment you need to survive. Yet, the reality is, Thakane is not alone. All over South Africa, clinics are facing shortages and stockouts of HIV and other medicines that put people’s health and lives at risk.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
After more than six months without her medicines, activists from the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) who were monitoring the facility found out and intervened on behalf of Thakane. The activists didn’t take no for an answer. The authorities had no choice but to listen and they found the medicines Thakane needed the very next day.
This is why activists have been campaigning for funding from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) for community groups to monitor clinics and hold authorities to account to fix the problems patients face—ensuring people always have access to the lifesaving medicines and health services they need. The good news is, we’ve won.
PEPFAR will invest a total of US $3 million, over the next two years, in community monitoring of clinics, led by people living with HIV so they can make sure that the health system delivers quality services that meet the needs of people living with HIV—people like Thakane.