I serve as a researcher and general assistant at the Tutu Tester. As a researcher, I am working with the Tutu Tester’s TB testing facility and Marquette University to test the efficacy of a human powered nebulizer . An electric powered nebulizer is currently being used by the Tutu Tester to test induce a sputum sample from HIV positive or TB symptomatic patients. The sputum sample is tested in a laboratory for the presence of the TB bacteria and the patient is informed and put on a customized array of drugs. I will be introducing the use of the human powered nebulizer as an additional tool to induce sputum. Each patient will give a sample induced by the electric and human powered nebulizer. The samples will be examined to see if there is significant difference in lung cell concentration. In addition to my specific work as a researcher I have spent considerable time assisting the day-to-day activities of the Tutu Tester. I help set up, do the medical tests, and pack the van. As a testing assistant I have been trained to actually administer the tests; I do finger pricks, blood tests, and take blood pressure. The language barrier is significant between the patients and myself but I am still valuable for the technical component of the testing.I believe the Tutu tester offers a valuable service to the community’s health and am very happy to be able to contribute my time and limited expertise to the success of the program.
With the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation I work with the HIV/TB clinic located in Masiphumelele, a small township outside of Cape Town. The township consists of Xhosa and Zulu's as well as many residents from outside South Africa. My work consists of community mapping in learning about the different NGO's that work in Masiphumelele, residents views of the area, as well as researching information of the schools located there. My research there is primarily due to finding out the views the youth have concerning HIV as well as what their interests lie in recreational activities. The Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation is building a youth center in Masiphumelele and is attempting to build a connection with the youth in Masiphumelele. The Foundation hopes the youth will have a positive and open relationship with the clinic in that they are comfortable advocating HIV treatment and prevention to their friends and other members of the community. The youth that currently assist with awareness in the community are titled the Future Fighters and currently they are researching the 1808 Slave Revolt due to the two hundred year anniversary of the event.
Different events that are being planned with the youth include a camp outside of Cape Town in November as well as a celebration of World AIDS day on December 1st. My work consists of research as well conducting interviews in the community as well as help set up events for the youth in Masiphumelele. Most of my day has spent setting up and interviewing heads of the different NGO's in the community as well as positive and active role models in the community that are comfortable in talking of HIV with their former residents. The Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation is located in other townships outside of Cape Town and provides a rewarding experience in terms of educating on HV/AIDS education as well as providing interaction with committed and active youth of South Africa.
Masiphumelele is a small township outside of Cape Town, where the DTHF runs a community-based HIV clinic. The Foundation is currently sponsoring the building of a Youth Centre there. Because adolescents are the targeted population of the HIV epidemic, there is an urgent need to reach the youth, teaching them life lessons and helping them to improve their future. My role has been to start programs with the adolescents in preparation for the Youth Centre. Along with members of the clinic, we’ve begun programs with a select group of students. While now focusing on drama and sport activities, there are plans for much more once the Youth Centre is built. Masi is a fun, energetic community and my time here has been wonderful.