Strong political commitment to achieving TB and HIV targets and supportive national policies are demonstrating results in the national HIV and TB response. However, epidemiological models and investment case analyses show that South Africa (SA) is not on track to achieve the 90:90:90 targets by 2020, and that more rapid scale-up of high quality, evidence-based prevention, care and treatment programmes are needed in order to avert new infections, secure long-term cost benefit from medium-term scale-up, and achieve and sustained epidemic control. Over the past two years, the National HIV Think Tank (NHIV TT) has become a popular and credible platform where multisectoral stakeholders willingly and enthusiastically participate to present their work, brainstorm new ideas and approaches, test innovative models and shape policy discussion in support of National Department of Health’s improved performance against its 2020 goal.
75% of the funding that the NHIV TT receive is reserved to undertake research and/or fund and evaluate innovative pilot projects to test ideas and inform South African Government (SAG) policy in support of the UNAIDS’s 90-90-90 goal. The NHIV TT currently funds various pilot projects. During Q3, the NHIV TT launched its first Innovation Challenge to source “wild Ideas” from nonconventional stakeholders. The Challenge received 18 applications and following a rigorous review process by the panel, four concepts were selected for contracting starting in Q4. These pilot projects will work in support of NDoH priorities and include projects to: (1) scale community PrEP targeting adolescent girls and young women, (2) optimise HTS counsellor training and resources, (3) expand the role of the private sector in viral load monitoring, and (4) increase access to HIV screening and identification of previously unknown PLHIV through partnering with traditional healers.