Project Masiluleke

Project Masiluleke (a Pop!Tech Accelerator-funded project) employs mobile phones and other technologies as high impact, low cost tools, in the fight against HIV/AIDS in South Africa - and beyond.

Background

Addressing the HIV/AIDS crisis in South Africa is extremely challenging due to a number of interconnected factors. The social stigma associated with HIV/AIDS keeps many from pursuing HIV testing or treatment. Public communications programs are often not adequate and send out confusing signals.

As a result, even though ART (Antiretroviral Treatment) has become available, it is estimated that less than 5% of the SA-population has been tested for HIV. Of those who are HIV positive, only 10% are currently receiving ART, leaving the remaining 90% infected, untreated and infectious to others. In this context, mobile phones hold tremendous untapped promise as a tool for public engagement around HIV.

About Project Masiluleke

Project Masiluleke is a South African project that aims to find solutions for the country's growing AIDS pandemic. The project is unique in that it enjoys the collaboration of a group of leading South African and international partners in the clinical, technical, philanthropic, development and design arena's.

Intended Impact

In a country where less than 5% of the adult population knows their HIV-status and more than 24% is HIV positive (close to 40% in provinces like KwaZulu-Natal), Project Masiluleke aims to:

  • Bring large numbers of people into testing without spending millions on expensive and often unsuccessful awareness campaigns,
  • Empower people to know their HIV status by testing privately and accurate for the disease, in the privacy of their own homes,
  • Involve adherent ARV patients as role-models and mobile support agents, through the virtual call centres,
  • Keep patients on treatment and increase treatment effectiveness, through regular doctor's visits and clinical support.

Results

In its pilot project Masiluleke sent over 690 million messages in English, Zulu, Xhosa, Sesotho, Setswana and Sepedi, resulting in 1.5 Million call to the AIDS helpline. Project Masiluleke was subsequently selected as one of 7 gold award winners at the prestigious 2010 Impumelelo Sustainability Awards.

Getting Involved

For more information, or to support Project Masiluleke, please email marcha@praekeltfoundation.org