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The Tutu Tester

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HIV and TB are managed successfully in many countries around the world. Yet, millions of people are still missing care.

The mobile services were introduced to bring healthcare to these ‘missing millions’.

It is estimated that only 60% of people worldwide with HIV know their status. The remaining 14 million people still need access to tests and treatment.

The Tutu Tester and Tutu Teen Truck mobile units provide a free, comprehensive health service to underserved communities. Since the unit’s inception in May 2008, over 50 000 individuals have been seen by the dedicated Tutu Tester team; 30 – 50 people are seen each day. The Tutu Teen Truck has seen nearly 7 000 people.

The Tutu fleet are in the field daily offering nutrition and healthy lifestyle education, HIV counselling and testing, point of care CD4 testing, screening for tuberculosis, and a range of general health screening tests. The aim is to improve the health of individuals in vulnerable communities and to normalise HIV testing.

Current Projects

  • Tutu Tester

The Tutu tester, the first in the Tutu fleet, is committed to going into underserved communities to provide free and confidential healthcare.

The primary focus of the project is to reduce the risk of HIV acquisition and transmission in all tested clients irrespective of a positive or negative HIV status. The unit has covered many areas servicing the public at transport hubs, farms, factories, hotels, gay bars, and sporting events to name a few. The team plays an important role in linking patients who need care to public health services and following up with cell phone calls where necessary.

You can contact the Tutu Tester on 021 659 6961

You can message them on Facebook.

You can email the Tutu Tester using philip.smith@hiv-research.org.za

  • Tutu Teen Truck

The second vehicle in the Tutu fleet. The Tutu Teen Truck provides the services of the Tutu truck but for adolescents and young adults between the ages of 12 and 24.  Adolescents can receive HIV, TB, Diabetes, STI, and Pregnancy Tests and can also come for advice and information about their sexual and reproductive health.

The truck will usually arrive at its destination between noon and 1pm. It closes around 6pm everyday, but tries not to turn anyone away. You can find the next location here.

Medical results will remain between the Teen Truck Staff and the patient. By law, beginning at the age of 12 South African children can seek out their own medical attention including testing and treatment without parental consent.

You can contact the Tutu Teen Truck on 021 650 1959

You can message the Tutu Teen Truck on Facebook.

You can email the Tutu Teen Truck with elzette.rousseau@hiv-research.org.za

Tutu Kwik!

Historical Involvement

Currently, there are two mobile units in the Tutu Truck fleet: the Tutu Tester, which provides testing and screening services to the general public; and the Tutu Teen Truck, which aims specifically to provide an adolescent-friendly mobile service and only caters to those aged 12-24 years.

The Tutu tester was introduced in 2008 to bring healthcare to communities where there was HIV but patients weren’t seeking treatment.

Soon after, a second truck, the Tutu Treater was introduced as a roaming pharmacy so that people who were diagnosed with HIV or another illness they could get treatment straightaway. The treater ended its funding cycle in 2012, however, that isn’t the end of its story.

There was seen to be a need for an adolescent-exclusive Tutu Tester and thus the retired Tutu Treater was re-branded as the Tutu Teen Truck. The newly christened Tutu Teen Truck continues to provide medical services to young people.

Grants

The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and Agénce Francaise Development provided the funds to build the unit and Metropolitan Health assisted with running costs for the first years.

We are proud that the service is now South African funded through a new partnership with Metropolitan and Discovery Health. We are most grateful to both companies for their commitment to public health enabling this vital service to continue.

We are actively seeking additional partners for the on-going support of this project.