Our key milestones in preventing and treating HIV/Aids in South Africa

The very right to be human is denied every day to hundreds of millions of people as a result of poverty, the unavailability of basic necessities such as food, jobs, water and shelter, education, healthcare and a healthy environment.Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela’s work in advancing health equity had a significant impact on transforming SA’s health system, and in the years after his presidency he focused his attention heavily on the HIV/Aids fight. His speech at the 2000 International AIDS Conference in Durban is said to have changed the Aids agenda.

“Our country is facing a disaster of immeasurable proportions from HIV/AIDS. We are facing a silent and invisible enemy that is threatening the very fabric of our society. Be faithful to one partner and use a condom… Give a child love, laughter and peace, not AIDS.” – Nelson Mandela.

The same year as thus important conference took place, Right to Care was established.

Here are our key milestones that we celebrate this international Mandela Day that marks 100 years since the birth of Nelson Mandela on 18 July 1918 and that we will continue to celebrate until SA achieve the UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets.


  • In June, Right to Care is established as a model for securing access drug pricing for patented antiretrovirals and related medicines to enable treatment programs for patients in the public sectors.


  • Right to Care registers as a non-profit (Section 21) organisation
  • Agreement reached with TherapyEdge, a ground-breaking patient clinical care management system.


  • USAID agrees to become a funder and Right to Care begins supporting the Clinical HIV Research Unit
  • Right to Care reaches an agreement with Alexander Forbes to launch the Direct AIDS Intervention programme to large employer groups providing workplace HIV treatment and wellness programmes.


  • ACTS clinic becomes a sub-recipient.
  • Right to Care moves into its own offices, in Wynberg, Johannesburg
  • First didactic training conducted.


  • Launch of the Thusong programme, with an initial 35 participating GPs
  • Launch of the Proudly Tested programme (providing HIV counselling and testing to the public)
  • Right to Care’s Head Office moves to Helen Joseph Hospital, a major hub of HIV care in South Africa.


  • Right to Care supports more than 10,000 patients on antiretroviral therapy (ART).


  • Right to Care provides HIV counselling and testing to more than 100 000 South Africans
  • USAID awards Right to Care the Umbrella Grants Management grant.


  • Right to Care provides HIV counselling and testing to more than 200 000 South Africans
  • The number of patients in HIV clinical care breaks the 100 000 mark.


  • The Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria (“Global Fund”) appoints Right to Care as a Principal Recipient
  • Right to Care launches its Pharmacy Supply Chain Management programme.


  • Right to Care awarded Global Fund grant for “Increasing Access to Integrated Tuberculosis and HIV Services at the Primary Health Care and Community Levels” by the Global Fund as a Principal Recipient (July 2011 – March 2013)
  • Start of transition of USAID-funded programmes from service delivery to technical assistance
  • Right to Care launches services to support the Department of Correctional Services HIV and TB programme.


  • USAID awards a fee-for-service contract to perform 125 000 medical male circumcisions in 18 months
  • Staff members author 51 peer-reviewed journal articles, bringing total published the total number of articles to 184 (2003 to 2012).


  • Medical male circumcision USAID contract renewed for a further 3 years
  • Right to Care awarded a grant by the Global Fund to be a Principal Recipient for “Increasing Investment for Accelerated Impact of the National Strategic Plan for HIV and TB” (October 2013 –March 2016).


  • Right to Care awarded the grants management contract for the TB Vaccine Network in South Africa.
  • Right to Care supports the use and rollout of Bedaquiline, the first new TB drug in around 40 years.
  • Expansion of support to the Department of Correctional Services through the Global Fund grant, NDoH Global Fund, and the CDC sub-recipient grant, with direct service delivery, pharmaceutical supply chain and health systems strengthening activities
  • Launch of mobile medical male circumcision services.


  • Right to Care establishes a Research Department, supporting implementation science and academic research into infectious diseases
  • In-pharmacy automated drug dispensing unit replaced with the Mach 4 automation system, considerably increasing drug dispensing capacity at Helen Joseph Hospital
  • Launch of Right ePharmacy, a subsidiary of Right to Care providing pharmacy automation services
  • ATM-style self-service drug dispensing unit piloted successfully at Themba Lethu Clinic
  • Right to Care awarded a grant by the Global Fund to be a Principal Recipient for “Investing for Impact against Tuberculosis and HIV (April 2016 – March 2019), with a focus on key populations
  • The launch of mobile x-ray unit for TB screening of inmates at Correctional Services facilities.


  • Right to Care awarded CDC Award and NDoH Global Fund Award as sub recipients for continuation of comprehensive HIV & TB services in the Department of Correctional Services
  • Steve Biko Academic Hospital and Helen Joseph Hospital identified as high-volume sites for in-pharmacy automated dispensing
  • Premises at a mall in Alexandra township acquired as a site for a PDU
  • Launch of EQUIP, a consortium of NGOs, led by Right to Care, with the mission of the rollout of healthcare services in multiple countries, mostly in Africa
  • Right to Care hosts the first Department of Correctional Services partner conference
  • MMC rolled out in traditional initiation schools in Mpumalanga
  • First ATM-style self-service drug dispensing unit operational in Alexandra township.


  • Successful implementation of high volume in-pharmacy automated dispensing systems at Steve Biko Academic Hospital and Helen Joseph Hospital
  • Right to Care supports South Africa’s first Drug Policy Week addressing narcotic and other substance abuse issues
  • Right to Care performs its one millionth medical male circumcision.


  • Right to Care’s supported correctional facilities achieve close to the 90:90:90 targets (90% of inmates know their HIV status, 90% are receiving treatment and 90% are virologically suppressed) – a global first in a high burden country.