HIV/AIDS Programme: Progress by Department of Social Services

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Meeting Summary

A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.

Meeting report


19 September 2006

Chairperson: Ms J Masilo (ANC, Gauteng)

Documents handed out:
Brief Progress Report of the Development of an HIV and AIDS Management Programme for youth and children in residential care
HIV/AIDS Programme: Powerpoint presentation by Department of Social Development
Chief Directorate: HIV and AIDS Progress Report

The Department of Social Development briefed the Committee on the purpose, strategic objectives, findings, and implementation of the HIV and Aids Management programme and the challenges faced by the Department. Particular emphasis was placed on the implementation of the monitoring and evaluation system for home based community care. A task team had been formed and was working with other funders. The areas addressed in the programme included support and care, distribution of food parcels, feeding schemes, support groups, skills development, voluntary counselling & testing, health promotion and day care. HIV/AIDS caregivers were mostly on stipends and social grants needed to be more accessible. Japanese funders were assisting in various ways. DSD was hoping, with their assistance, to formulate district monitoring systems. Challenges included attracting and retaining the right staff and DSD was busy with training. 

Questions by members related to the linkages with the Extended Public Works Programme, the stipends, caregivers’ ratios and support, the expertise offered by the Japanese funders, the suspension of disability granysfor those receiving ARVs, and the LoveLife finances. The criteria for funding NGOs was explained, and the learnership financing discussed.  Spending by Provinces was raised and clarified. Some further challenges were identified.

Progress Report on the HIV/AIDS programme of the Department of Social Development:
Dr Connie Kganakga,
Chief Director: Department of Social Development (DSD) reported on the progress of the Department in implementing a Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) system for Home Community Based Care (HCBC) at all levels of governance and service delivery in South Africa. She reported that a task team had been formed, consisting of members of the directorates of the HIV, Population Development and Research, M&E, IT, and Department of Health, together with other partners: US Aid, the Department for International Development (DFID) and Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA).

Dr Kganakga stated that the various areas addressed were support and care programmes (which included home visits), distribution of food parcels, feeding schemes, support groups, skills development programmes, voluntary counselling & testing (VCT), health promotion and day care. These were also the major cost drivers of the project. It was noted that most HIV/AIDS caregivers were on stipends and that social grants needed to be more accessible especially to child-headed households. Research by the Department also found that funded organizations were better managed whereas non-funded organizations’ functionality was not up to standard. The process of M&E incorporated financial assistance and skills expertise from the Japanese funders. The Japanese would be offering computers to the districts in approximately the second year of the project and would also be collaborating with the department to formulate a geographical information system and district health information system.  By doing this DSD hoped to have someone within the community based organisations and ethnic groups to collect information and set up district-monitoring systems. One of the challenges that DSD faced was attracting and retaining coordinators who were passionate about their jobs. Unfortunately many were employed on a contract basis and would leave for better job security. Training programmes would be taking place in all the provinces, starting with Limpopo, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu Natal. It was noted that closer links needed to be established between national and provincial structures.

Ms F Mazibuko (Gauteng, ANC) enquired what the linkage was between the Extended Public Works Programme (EPWP) and HCBC.

Dr Kganakga said that the EPWP addressed poverty and unemployment, and the Department identified had two key programmes, the Early Childhood Development programme and the HCBC. These two programs were linked with the Departments of Health, Education and DSD with DSD being the leader. DSD would offer the support and speciality on aspects that impacted on social development.

Ms Mazibuko asked if there were any standards for stipends or whether they varied per province.

Dr Kganakga said that the department had not made any decision regarding stipends but DSD had put everyone on the EPWP.

Mr B Tolo (Mpumalanga, ANC) asked if the issue of stipends could not be standardized.

Based on the statistics given in the report, Ms Mazibuko asked if the Department had calculated any ratio of caregivers to beneficiaries and if there was a set curriculum for the training of caregivers.

Dr Kganakga stated that standards had been developed in the programmes but differed in terms of the needs of the family so DSD had not been able to give a definitive assessment, for instance, of the number of times they visited a family. This resulted in the ratio of caregivers to beneficiaries not being easily determinable. In respect of training Dr Kganakga said that a curriculum for training had been formulated and was awaiting printing.

Ms Mazibuko raised concern as to why the Department used Japanese funding. It was noted that different departments were found to be funding one NGO.

Ms Mazibuko enquired if there was anything at national level that monitored activities in the provinces.

Mr B Tolo asked whether the structures that the Department had in place were helpful. In response to the financial feedback being for half the year, he asked the amount of the total budget and how much of the budget had been spent. These questions were not specifically answered.

Lastly, Mr Tolo asked about the recent reports on the boycotting of medication, and the outcome of the strike.

Dr Kganakga clarified that those on strike did not want to be seen as disabled and therefore wanted to be put on the EPWP. The Department had requested that their organisation put forward a proposal to DSD.

Ms Madlala-Magubane (Gauteng, ANC) asked for the reason of the suspension of disability for those receiving anti retro viral medication (ARVs).

Dr Kganakga commented that the communication strategy of HIV/AIDS was effective because people now knew far more about the epidemic. However, the problem was that people did not know their status and were not wanting to test because of the stigma attached to it. DSD also faced the challenge that in order to access the disability grant, a person had to have a CD count of 200. There was a balance between ensuring medication was available and ensuring that the persons getting the medication were not deprived of essentials such as sufficient food because of the suspension of the grant in favour of the medication.

Mrs Lamoela (Western Cape, DA) asked whether the financial difficulties reported to be experienced by the LoveLife campaign were resolved.

Dr Kganakga said that the financial difficulties that LoveLife was experiencing had been sorted out and that the campaign was even receiving money from the global fund. She added that the Department was still however working on monitoring LoveLife’s delivery.

Ms Lamoela asked whether the Japanese were well acquainted with South Africans’ needs and the country in general.

Dr Kganakga clarified that the role of the Japanese was just in funding and supporting the programme, particularly expert assistance with the Management Information Systems (MIS). The Japanese funders were not actively involved in running the programme.

Ms Lamoela asked for clarity on blank spaces in the report, where there should be figures for some drop-in centres and cooked meals.

Dr Kganakga said the blank figures were now available, although they had not been available at the time of compiling the report
Ms M
Madlala-Magubane asked why there were non-registered NGOs and what the criteria used for registering these NGOs were. She further asked if the Department was training NGOs towards meeting international standard.

Dr Kganakga said the criteria used was that the NGOs must have a constitution and, more importantly, audited financial statements. Some of them reported that they experienced difficulties in meeting the criteria because of capacity problems. Dr Kganakga said that the issue of transport was a great concern as NGOs in the rural areas were visited less because the distance was quite significant. She noted that infrastructure still needed to be addressed.
Mr L Govender (KZN Legislature) asked why the provinces were not spending their allocated budget and asked how much money had been sent to KwaZulu Natal (KZN).

Dr Kganakga said that the provinces were not spending for various reasons, which included capacity problems and the need to access the NGOs. However she told the committee that National Treasury had agreed to fund capacity. KwaZulu Natal had the largest budget with a reported figure of R25 million. She elaborated that DSD had taken money used to run HCBC to all the provinces, and that all money at the beginning of the year was part of the equitable share. Dr Kganakga acknowledged that capacity was a real problem for DSD at national level as not all districts had coordinators. 

Mr Govender further asked why there was such a discrepancy with the number of caregivers to beneficiaries and said this didn’t make any sense.

Dr Kganakga was in agreement with Mr Govender and noted that this discrepancy posed a large challenge to DSD.

Lastly Mr Govender suggested that the quality of trainers needed to be addressed at coordinators’ meetings and asked if any plans in this regard had been made.

Ms Z Ludidi (KZN Legislature) made a suggestion that national government go down to provinces and visit the districts within the provinces.

Dr Kganakga agreed this would be a good idea, as it would enable DSD to work with local government, but mentioned that no set structure for doing this existed at present. DSD would look into the matter.

Ms J Masilo (North-West Province, ANC) said that the monitoring and evaluation of provinces was still a concern. She asked what the impact of registered NGOs was.

Dr Kganakga responded that the registered NGOs were receiving funding.

Ms Masilo asked about the learnership of interns and how much they were receiving as payment.

Dr Kganakga said the interns were receiving an amount of R2000 per month.

The meeting was adjourned.


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