Health survey for King area

HIV/Aids to be main focus

THE Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) has put together a team of three trained field workers, dressed in HSRC bibs and carrying identification cards, and started with a five-day survey in the King William’s Town area from Tuesday.

During the survey they will visit 15 homes and conduct interviews with all residents in the house.

DOING THE ROUNDS: Human Sciences Research Council supervisor Sandise Ncetani, flanked by field workers Fezeka Fihla and Vuyolwethu Mayisela, have started with a survey in Breidbach on Tuesday Picture: DESMOND COETZEE

The council said 72 teams of trained field workers would interview 60000 individuals of all ages in the study.

HSRC supervisor Sandise Ncetani said the survey would be the fifth one after the other four in 2002, 2005, 2008 and 2012, and the teams were now contacting people to answer some questions which they hope would assist with coming up with effective ways to improve the health of South Africans.

“We are unable to visit all the houses in the country and therefore we have selected 15000 houses from different areas in the country where we would like to talk to all people in the house and this means we will visit the homes several times, depending on the number of people and their availability,” Ncetani said.

“We have started at the local clinic and were introduced to Desmond Coetzee, a community leader who will assist us to the addresses and have also reported to the King Police [department] to inform them about our survey,” he added.

The police have been notified of the survey so people do not take the HSRC members for scam artists or criminals trying to gain entry into their homes.

The HSRC is committed to creating cutting-edge research which supports development nationally and the survey aims to determine the HIV/Aids status of participants, estimate the number of individuals who were recently infected, determine if the participant is taking antiretroviral medicine (ARVs) and assessing the levels of resistance to ARVs by those already on the treatment programme.

According to Ncetani, the study will also identify the prevalence of behavioural and social factors that put South Africans at risk of contracting the virus.

“Participation in the survey is voluntary and it is important for as many people who are approached, to take part in order for the results to be representative of the whole country,” Ncetani concluded.

During the study, respondents are asked to answer a questionnaire and provide a small blood sample through a finger or heel prick (for infants) and all information and results are kept confidential.

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