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St. Mary’s Hospital, Durban, South Africa

CDC’s partnership with St. Mary’s has strengthened the ability of municipal public clinics to treat HIV+ patients

St. Mary’s Hospital was built in 1927 but was initially established by a group of Trappist monks in 1882. Although the Hospital is owned by the Missionary Sisters of the Precious Blood (a Catholic Religious Order), the day-to-day management of the Hospital has been handed over to an inter-vivos Trust – St Mary’s Catholic Mission Hospital Trust. The Hospital is a registered Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) 043-932 and Section 18A exempt organisation and is situated in the Mariannhill Mission Complex, located on the outskirts of Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

It is a 200-bed, Level One District Hospital, serving a population of approximately 750 000 people living in the Inner and Outer West Operational Entities of the Durban Metropolitan Area. This area – according to the 2010 National Antenatal Sentinel HIV & Syphilis Prevalence Survey in South Africa – is one of the top 5 highest prevalence rate districts in the country at 41.1%. It is the referral Hospital for some 19 Government Community Clinics and operates with a budget of some R107 million.

As St Mary’s Hospital is the only District Hospital for the area, annual service level agreements have been signed with the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health for many years and the Hospital operates as “State-aided” District Hospital on behalf of the Department of Health.

The estimated prevalence of people who are HIV-infected is on average 22% with an 80% potentially that are AIDS defined. St. Mary’s provides comprehensive HIV/TB care and treatment services and has a good working relationship with KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health, which provides the hospital with antiretroviral drugs. SMH has put12 000 patients on treatment using PEPFAR funds and 900 of these are pediatric cases. St Mary’s will continue providing on site mentoring and in service training through their roving teams of specialists.

The Hospital first started providing antiretroviral treatment as the start of PEPFAR in 2004 as a sub-partner of the Catholic Relief Services. In 2007 PEPFAR award St. Mary’s a five-year grant for providing care and treatment services to the community.

This grant ended on May 31, 2012, but St.Mary’s subsequently received a cost extension which is being used to expand the medical male circumcision services.

Medical Male Circumcision

Medical male circumcision is an evidence-based HIV prevention method that has shown a 60% reduction of HIV transmission rate and lower transmission of sexually transmitted diseases.

St. Mary’s launched their program in response to the campaign initiated in KwaZulu-Natal by His Majesty King Goodwill Zwelithini, insisting that all Zulu men be circumcised. In 2010–2011, St. Mary’s Hospital established a MMC clinic called Asiphile based off-site in Caversham Glen. This clinic is a training hub for the KZN Department of Health.

“There are many political challenges among PEPFAR partners to get healthy young males into a hospital for surgery,” said Dr. Ross. “The best chance and model of transition in Africa is this country, South Africa.

View the Success Story: Circumcised patient praises the McCord Hospital in Durban, South Africa

For more information on St. Mary’s visit:

  • Page last reviewed: January 29, 2013
  • Page last updated: January 29, 2013
  • Content source:

    Global Health
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