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Dr Jenness Cameron from the UK is hoping to leave a successful ARV programme behind in KwaZulu-Natal when she leaves South Africa at the end of June.
Cameron started working in the province in August 2011. She, with Dr Anne Brouha from the USA, is establishing ARV services in 13 rural clinics surrounding Rietvlei Hospital. The hospital is about three hours from Durban.
The two doctors are training two nurses at each clinic to initiate and follow-up ARV treatment.
HIV rates in rural KwaZulu-Natal are very high, says Cameron, and there are always more people in need of ARV treatment.
Stigma can still be a major barrier to some people accessing treatment, she says.
“People that are close to the hospital will often collect medicine for their neighbours. However, in other areas some husbands won’t allow their wives to get treated.”
Cameron added that training clinic nurses has been very rewarding.
Cameron says the community treat her and Brouha like they are very special and all the locals know who they are.