Research & Training Institute (RTI)
As a former Researcher with UCT's Child Health and Public Health Units, respectively and associated with Wola Nani since its inception, Dr Des Michaels was approached to develop the first project with which to develop the RTI, namely the very necessary “task shifting” in the Public Health Sector that would allow lay counselors to relieve the pressure experienced by the medical staff by performing the Rapid Finger Prick Test for HIV for patients accessing this service in the public health system.
In March 2010 Dr Des Michaels believed that it would not be long before the National Minister of Health made public the intention for this task shifting to take place. This took place on the 14th May 2010 when the National Health Act of 1966 was amended, making it possible for lay people to be trained in the HIV Finger Prick Rapid Test.
By July 2010 Dr Des Michaels was ready with a proposal to the Department of Health in the Western Cape for Wola Nani's RTI to train Lay Counsellors and enrolled Nursing Assistants in being able to perform the rapid testing function.
After a tendering process Wola Nani was the only organization ready to commence with training immediately. By September 2010 a contract was signed for Wola Nani to run 35 training courses for over 600 Lay Counsellors, their coordinators and other lay health personnel.
Wola Nani is a pioneer in this training and we have embraced this opportunity to be able to make a difference to thousands of South Africans and we are proud to be in the forefront of this ground breaking initiative. This is one example of where a refreshed vision and mission can impact an organization and the sector it serves. Wola Nani is, in this case ideally poised to contribute to the results hoped for in our quest to overcome the debilitating effects of HIV and AIDS on an impoverished community, through early testing and detection of HIV.