In response to the growing South African HIV epidemic, a group of local health providers established the countries first paediatric treatment programme for HIV-infected children attached to Groote Schuur Hospital(GSH). Funded and supported by the One to One Children’s Fund, the programme reached 300 children as one of the first paediatric treatment sites in the region.
Over 90% of children initiated responded to treatment that was implemented as part of a holistic, family-centred approach. The GSH programme began hosting health provider teams from across South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa, becoming an important learning ground for others who wanted to initiate paediatric treatment programmes. Seeing this peer learning in action inspired the birth of PATA as a knowledge sharing network of paediatric HIV health provider teams, and led to the first PATA forum convened in 2005. PATA was formally registered in 2007.
Since then, PATA forums have created a capacity-building platform and collaborative meeting space for health provider teams from across the region. PATA programmes have developed out of the PATA forum foundation and methodology, with programmes leading to the development, documentation and sharing of promising practices in paediatric and adolescent HIV treatment and care. PATA has expanded its scope alongside shifts in the epidemic to focus on both paediatric and adolescent HIV populations. Since 2005, PATA has held six Continental Summits, four Regional Forums, 31 Local Forums and one Youth Summit in Botswana, Cameroon, DRC, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Together, these forums have built the capacity of health provider teams from 320 health facilities across 24 countries, sharing paediatric and adolescent HIV learning and practice and enhancing HIV response implementation.
Meaning of PATA:
PATA remains registered as Paediatric AIDS Treatment for Africa but describes itself as Paediatric – Adolescent Treatment Africa. The meaning of PATA in Xhosa and Zulu (phatha) is ‘to touch or feel’ and in Swahili refers to ‘reaching out’. PATA seeks to reach out and support frontline health providers who make a difference through touching the lives of young people impacted by HIV across sub-Saharan Africa.