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Prioritising health in the West

A workshop at Chief Mogale Hall in Kagiso empowered individuals to take ownership of their health.

Community wellness and development are always of the utmost importance to see and allow growth. Especially when it comes to helping the most vulnerable and less fortunate people in those communities.

The International Treatment Preparedness Coalition (ITPC) is a global network of people living with HIV, community activists, and their supporters working to achieve universal access to HIV treatment and other life-saving medicines.

According to Khokhelwa Zokwana, who is the citizen life maps officer at the organisation, the ITPC is an issue-based coalition.

“Our slogan, Treat People Right, is the core of our work. ITPC was created by communities, for communities, and this value is central to our work,” she said.

The organisation recently held a workshop at Chief Mogale Hall in Kagiso, providing information and education to people in the community on an individual basis to understand and encourage them to take ownership of their health so that they can then advocate for their own needs. Once people are empowered, they fight to ensure that the medicines and services they need are available, free or reasonably priced, and accessible.

Khokhelwa added that communities also need to monitor in real-time the barriers to staying healthy and raise the alarm when there are problems – from medicine stock-outs to discriminatory service providers to human rights issues.

“We do this through ‘Watch What Matters’ and are currently running a Citizen Science programme.”

In addition to reaching local communities in the West, the organisation also has a central structure which is the Global Activist Network, consisting of community-based organisations, individual treatment activists, partner organisations, ITPC regional networks, and the ITPC global team.

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