The National Department of Health (NDoH) in South Africa is committed to fast track its progress towards ending AIDS by 2030 and achieving the UNAIDs 90-90-90 targets by 2020 for people living with HIV (PLHIV). To achieve these ambitious goals, South Africa’s NDoH has partnered with leading organizations and experts in the country and deployed a targeted approach for identification, linkage, treatment and retention. Specifically, in partnership with the ELMA Philanthropies Services (Africa) (Pty) Ltd. (“ELMA”), the Unfinished Business (UB) Consortium consisting of a partnership between provincial departments of health and implementing partners (IP) was created in 2015 to improve paediatric and adolescent coverage in the districts with the highest prevalence of HIV. Through these efforts, the UB Consortium in Johannesburg, eThekwini, uMgungundlovu, Zululand, and uMkhanyakude districts tested 818,920 children and adolescents <20, identified 30,691 (3.7% of those tested), and initiated 21,968 on ART (81% linkage to ART rate for children < 15 and 64% for adolescents 15-19).
Although meaningful progress has been made, gaps still exist, due to South Africa’s high disease burden, the 90-90-90 targets are still not yet in sight, especially for the paediatric and adolescent populations where the country has only met ~55% of its identification and treatment targets. As such, the UB Consortium aims to build off the learnings and successes of its achievements through a second phase of the project; UB Phase II: 2019 to 2022, to support South Africa achieve 90-90-90 for the paediatric and adolescent populations living with HIV. The goal for UB Phase II will be to identify, implement and scale proven intervention strategies focused on case identification, strong linkage systems and improved retention and viral suppression.