The Themba Lethu Clinic Programme

The City of Johannesburg’s Helen Joseph Hospital is a public hospital providing tertiary health care services to the people of Gauteng. About 22,000 patients come to the clinic from Johannesburg’s B, C and D regions. The University of Witwatersrand’s healthcare teaching programme is integrated into the hospital.

As part of the Accelerating Program Achievements to Control the Epidemic (APACE) grant under the Anova Health Institute (Anova), Right to Care (RTC) provides specialised services at the Themba Lethu Clinic, situated at the Helen Joseph Hospital. These services include:

advanced clinical care

pharmaceutical supply chain management

direct service delivery

Advanced HIV disease is a major factor driving both admissions and deaths at the hospital. Of the patients initiated on antiretroviral treatment (ART) at the clinic:

59% are on first-line treatment

22% are already on second-line treatment

2% of patients are on third-line treatment with more patients needing third-line treatment

17% of patients are on mixed-regimens

Low resistance rates showed that HIV Drug Resistance (HIV-DR) testing is a cost-effective strategy to identify and tailor third-line treatment.

At the Themba Lethu Clinic, we:

support the National Department of Health (NDoH) with rolling out treatment and care for HIV and TB patients

provide advanced clinical care for patients: with complications from TB and HIV and experiencing comorbidities, treatment side effects or treatment failure.

This programme began in 2004 and is now in its 16th year.

Activities at the clinic

Advanced HIV and TB care is offered with strong clinical support from different departments within the hospital. This support has:

created efficiency in the management of referrals

boosted research to inform public health policy and national guidelines.

Our main activities focus on complicated cases and cover:

HIV and TB drug resistance testing for early identification and follow-up

third-line antiretroviral treatment (ART)

establishing a referral network amongst health facilities

capacity building, training and mentorship programmes for healthcare workers and clinicians

in-service training of DoH and direct support professional staff

The programme’s direct service delivery support encompasses:

HIV counselling and testing

ART treatment initiation and follow up

drug sensitive and multidrug-resistant TB treatment and follow up

UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets

Our work here is also focused on:

  • reaching UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets and
  • addressing barriers to achieving these targets.

Goals towards reaching the first 90 have been achieved by:

  • holding weekly data review meetings,
  • providing additional support for lay counsellors,
  • using extended operating hours over weekends,
  • attaining high positivity yield in the wards,
  • providing TB screening with every patient’s clinic visit,
  • holding weekly Treatment Acceleration Programme (TRAP) meetings and
  • performing effective data analysis to address gaps.

Goals towards achieving the second 90 have been achieved by:

  • improving ward initiations,
  • collaborating on TB/HIV cases,
  • holding weekly data review meetings,
  • keeping patient flow charts which improve ART initiations and
  • ensuring rigorous follow up of patients who are co-infected with HIV and TB to allow treatment initiation.

Goals towards achieving the third 90 were achieved by:

  • introducing adolescent and youth-friendly services,
  • ensuring close monitoring of patients due for viral load (VL) testing,
  • tracing of discharged patients by the call centre,
  • ensuring that adolescents and students remained in care and
  • establishing a call centre to trace patients who were transferred to local clinics to ensure they were retained in care.

Treating health seriously, caring, making treatment available in South Africa and abroad.

Contact Us

Email :
Phone : +27 (0) 11 276-8850