Princess Stephanie Visits TB and HIV Projects In Cape Town


 

Princess Stephanie of Monaco showed a keen interest in how South Africans tackle TB and HIV as she visited community projects in Cape Town.

The Princess was shown around a mobile TB and HIV counseling and testing centre set up by Stellenbosch University’s Desmond Tutu TB Centre, as well the Etafeni Day Care Centre Trust in Nyanga.

Princess Stephanie was visiting South Africa in her capacity as UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador.

She said she was very pleased to see screening for TB and testing for HIV being carried out in tents and a caravan set up in a public area in Nyanga.

“This is a very good idea, as you can stop in to get tested when you’re walking down the street. It’s efficient, people feel more comfortable about being tested and you can be anonymous.”

The mobile Community HIV counseling and testing centres currently operate in five communities in and around Cape Town and also offer glucose and cholesterol testing, blood pressure monitoring, pregnancy testing and height and weight measurements.

“This is a way of taking services to the people and helping people within the community right where they are,” explained Director of the Desmond Tutu TB Centre, Professor Nulda Beyers.

Sue-Ann Meehan, who runs the Community HIV Prevention Project, told Princess Stephanie that mobile testing had been very successful, particularly as half of their clients had been men, who don’t usually go to clinics to get tested for HIV.

Princess Stephanie was welcomed in the area by the Rector of Stellenbosch University, Professor Russel Botman, as well as Professor Mariana Kruger, the Executive Head of Paediatric and Child Health at the university.

The University of Stellenbosch and non-governmental-organisations, such as the Etafeni centre in Nyanga, work hand-in-hand in several initiatives in the community.

The Princess was later shown around the centre, where over 100 HIV-positive women are employed in sewing, beading and other skills.

She listened attentively as Teresa Lumani, who works at the Centre, told of how she was driven to raise awareness about HIV and TB after three of her siblings had died of HIV.

The Etafeni centre has became a haven in the Nyanga area. The centre’s development manager, Barbara Miller, said one of its key goals was to help women live positive and healthy lives.

The food garden at the centre produces fruit and vegetables for over 200 nutritious meals daily, something that Princess Stephanie says she fully supports.

She was entranced by the children at Etafeni’s Early Childhood Development Centre. A relaxed Princess Stephanie picked up young Neyo Dube, and danced along to the marimba band, which she clearly enjoyed.

“There’s such wonderful energy here. It’s good to see the work being done in the community,” she said.

The Princess also stopped by at a home in the Nyanga neighbourhood, and chatted to the family about Etafeni’s outreach work.  Etafeni’s field workers go door to door in Nyanga to check on the health and well-being of residents.

Apart from her work as UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador, Princess Stephanie has been the President of Fight AIDS Monaco since 2004. The organization offers information and HIV prevention and support to people living with and affected by HIV.