HIV Voluntary Counselling and Testing

The Power of Knowing franchise model

The DBSA was appointed an implementing agency by the Department of Health (DoH) for the Power of Knowing franchise model, a project aimed at promoting the prevention of HIV and Aids, and encouraging behavioural change.

Developed in 2003 by the DoH in collaboration with German Development Bank, KfW, and the DBSA, the Power of Knowing franchise model is a long-term project aimed at improving access to quality counselling and voluntary HIV testing services in Limpopo and Northern Cape. KfW provided funding to construct private HIV testing rooms in existing clinics. A second component of funding then enabled confidential HIV counselling and testing services at the clinics. Patients who tested positive are provided with free treatment in line with the National Department of Health’s policy on access to free treatment for HIV.

The Power of Knowing franchise model was designed to strengthen public-private relationships among HIV prevention stakeholders, including referral for HIV treatment. It focused on collaboration among the public, private and non-govermental organisation (NGO) sectors, including continuous training and quality control of services. Project design included destigmatising HIV testing and supplementing the public health system’s capacity for counselling and testing by building a functional network of implementers, private practitioners, private pharmacies and local NGOs. To fill the gaps between providers, the model established a functional data reporting system that collated public and private HIV counselling and testing (HCT) data, simultaneously instilling active collaboration among all parties. 

The two project components complemented each other, as the public sector element ensured the construction and upgrade of the clinics, whilst the private sector capacitated the districts with practitioners who provided the counselling and testing services.
Operating in the peri-urban and rural communities, the contracted service providers offered high-quality buildings as well as voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) and tuberculosis testing services to underserved populations in identified public clinics in Limpopo and Northern Cape.

Project objectives

  • Refurbish and upgrade priority clinics in Limpopo and Northern Cape
  • Establish a network of 250 private practitioners, including doctors, nurses, pharmacists and NGOs in Limpopo and Northern Cape
  •  Provide VCT to 322 064 persons
  •  Capacitate providers to conduct HCT, reporting into the national system
  •  Increase the testing rate for males to 35%.

Development outcomes and measurable impacts

  • 28 clinics refurbished in Limpopo
  • 27 clinics refurbished in Northern Cape
  • 332 064 people provided with HCT in Limpopo and Northern Cape
  • Developed and launched the Power of Knowing franchise model brand
  • Established a monitoring system that reports HCT testing data directly to the National DoH
  • 260 doctors, nurses, pharmacists and NGOs contracted to perform HCT to at-risk communities in Limpopo and Northern Cape
  • Developed a payment and medical commodity procurement and distribution system
  • Established a service quality assurance mechanism
  • Increased uptake in testing among men
  • Refinement of the test-to-treatment pipeline in public health facilities and implementation of the National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme

Upgrades - a new consulting room, one storage room, a covered patio, an air conditioner and other minor refurbishments.