'It's a Wednesday morning in G26. The clinic is a hive of activity. Patients are filtering in; children are having their temperatures taken and being weighed; the Beading Group is meeting to begin their days work; the urn is heating up to provide hot drinks for caregivers. It’s a full clinic, with 25 of 30 patients having arrived for their pre-booked appointments. There is excited chatter about the new Cell Life project going on between two Mums busying rocking their toddlers on their knees: both received reminder messages to bring their children into their appointments last night.'
Over the past few months we have been busy at work with Cell Life on a pilot project to assess the benefit of texting our patients and their caregivers to remind them of appointments. The first message is sent a week prior to the patients booked appointment, and then a follow up note is sent the day before their appointment. The idea is to prompt patients who are booked for appointments to come on the right day. This makes it much easier to prepare a well-functioning and successful clinic. Stickers with patient’s details can be printed out beforehand, doctors’ notes can be organized, folders with patient information sorted and set out ready for the day. The immediate benefit is that nurses and doctors have more time to carry out their essential tasks.
Patients who do not turn up for their appointment can be identified immediately, and a make-up appointment is arranged. We aim to determine whether this project will reduce clinic defaults and unexpected clinic visits. The Cell Life database will enable us to keep better track of patient movements and we hope it will help us to maintain permanent contact with all our patients, until it is possible to transfer their care to a clinic closer to their homes.
Facilitating clinic attendance and collection of anti-retroviral drugs is essential to the work we do. Defaults can lead to virological failure, resistance to life-saving drugs, a weakened immune system and progression of disease.
During the next few months we will be able to get a clearer picture of the benefit of this project. Currently our clinic is abuzz with talk of the new project and we trust its success will be evident to our caregivers. If our project is shown to be successful, we hope to raise funds to extend the project to assist ARV treatment teams working at other venues.
Our new product 'Ndebele cards' feature beautiful ethnic designs on beaded squares with a pin attached so you are buying more than just a card and your purchase is supporting a family affected by HIV/AIDS. The beadwork can be worn as a brooch or pinned to a bag. The cards are R20 each and can be ordered from firstname.lastname@example.org or inquiries to
+27 21 686 9710.