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      Welcome to the CATHCA Website!

Who we are:

CATHCA is the Catholic Health Care Association of Southern Africa. Some of us are doctors, some nurses, some community health workers, or other health professionals, and many of us are lay people doing voluntary work as home based caregivers, administrators, bookkeepers, or looking after orphans or the elderly in homes and care centres across the country. 

Where we are:

We work around the country in all nine Provinces of South Africa, and in Botswana and Swaziland, in 38 clinics, two hospitals, many old age homes, hospices, orphanages and many Diocesan and parish projects combating HIV/AIDS.  See the button marked "Members" to the left.  

CATHCA e-news

Winter edition 2014


Greetings from us all at CATHCA where we are fending off the cold winter temperature with heaters and hot drinks!

 In this edition:

CATHCA is accredited to provide healthcare training, an HIV self-testing study shows high uptake, news of the new SACBC Department for Catholic Social Action and a report on the CATHCA 2014 National Conference.

 News from the CATHCA office

Gillian and Yvonne attended the meeting of the TB Steering Committee for documenting community TB care in Pretoria last week. Yvonne also attended a sector meeting called by the National Department of Health to discuss the certificate of need to be required by health facilities and practices in future, and CATHCA will submit suggestions for the proposed regulations for the certificate. Teresa and Maureen visited Malawi to discuss the Catholic regional health care network with the bishops there, and Gill, Teresa and Frances made follow-up visits to some of the clinics they had previously assessed, in Botshalebo, Witbank, Makhado and Queenstown. A home-based care training refresher course was run for carers in Rustenburg on HIV, TB and palliative care.

 To support Nelson Mandela Day on July 18th, the CATHCA staff had a great time packing thirty-two baby boxes with baby clothes and toiletries into carry bags for the Baby Box project in Johannesburg , which delivers them to new and needy mothers when they leave hospital with their babies.








New SACBC Department for Catholic Social Action

All organisations and internal offices of the SACBC concerned with Catholic social action met at Lumko, Benoni, at the end of May to discuss the new Department for Catholic Social Action formed with the re-structuring of the SCBC recently, to build a closer working relationship between the agencies and the bishops and provide a forum for deeper information sharing, discussion and reflection, with key issues being taken to the Council for Evangelisation and/or to the bishops’ plenary session if appropriate. A vision statement clarified the role of the department as a collective of social action agencies discerning the signs of the time to strengthen the prophetic voice of the Church, leading to more purposeful collaborative social action. This will be done by discussing, together with our bishops, key issues affecting people’s lives and participating in the Council for Evangelisation. Meetings will be held twice annually and a coordinating secretary, Rosanne Shields of RDSP, will attend the meetings of the Council for Evangelisation.

 CATHCA an accredited Training service provider!

After many long-drawn-out attempts to get registered over some years, CATHCA has finally been accredited with the Health & Welfare SETA as a training service provider, for the Community Health Work qualification to level 2. The SETA is still preparing standardised training manuals for this level. CATHCA will use its accreditation to provide quality and reasonably-priced training for its members and the wider public.

 The 2014 National Conference

CATHCA’s 2014 national Conference was held at the Good Shepherd Centre in Hartbeespoort outside Pretoria from May 2-4 2014. Eighty-one participants from across the country attended, with the theme of the conference being “The face of Catholic Health Care in Southern Africa ; effective, efficient and holy”

 We were fortunate to be able to listen to some inspired speakers, among them Liz Brouckaert on an excellent mentor mother programme being run in the diocese of Dundee, Fr Rick Bauer from Namibia speaking on pastoral care and spirituality in a health setting, Dr Douglas Ross on maternal and child health, Sr Frances Steel on infection control and health and safety in clinics, and Msgr Robert Vitillo of Caritas Internationalis, Geneva, on maternal and child health care in the global picture.

 A very interesting panel discussion on parish health ministry opened our eyes to what local parishes are doing in health, with Mpho Modisane, Lot Masina and Grace Masilela giving different perspectives on what was being achieved in their parishes. Finally Msgr Barney McAleer held a healing service for all delegates on the final day.

 The presentations and discussions among conference participants provided much food for thought. On the topic of the future of Catholic health care, all felt there was a future, and this needed to be prayerfully addressed, with the focus on working at community level, and consideration given to training chaplains in health pastoral care, parish health ministry, work with orphans and vulnerable children and pregnant and new mothers, and taking a fresh look at parish health and safety.

 It was emphasised during the conference that Catholic health care should be holistic, listening and giving hope, seeing the patient as a person created by God and factoring in the spiritual aspect of health care; that this meant going to where the need was, in the home, the parish, the community. It also implied protecting our people – good infection control, health and safety standards, child protection, children after-care and awareness of gender abuse and what to do about it.

 The CATHCA awards

In appreciation and acknowledgment of the great work that our members do, the inaugural CATHCA awards were made at the conclusion of the national conference, for individuals and organisations that had given long and meritorious service to Catholic health care over the years. The awards went to Sr Margarette Sibisi of Ebhuhleni Clinic in KwaZulu-Natal , the Siyathokoza clinic in the Free State and to Sr Theodorah Mojapelo of St John the Baptist Clinic in Gauteng .  May your excellent work continue and may the good Lord bless you for your service!

 New board members for CATHCA

At the CATHCA AGM held during the national conference, two new board members, Dr Khaya Nzimande of Blessed Gerard Care Centre in KwaZulu-Natal and Mrs Audrey Montshiwa of St Joseph Care & Support Trust in Gauteng were elected by members for the period 2014 to 2016 and Dr Douglas Ross and Mrs. Victoria Sofala of Fr Michael D'Annucci Health Centre were re-elected for a third term. We welcome you warmly onto the board.








 (CATHCA board members 2014; (l to r)Mrs Victoria Sofala, Mrs Audrey Montshiwa, Dr Khaya Nzimande and Dr Douglas Ross)

 News from the Catholic health regional network

The Pastoral Care training manual has been finalised, and Teresa and Maureen have completed their country visits with the final one being to Malawi , where they addressed the bishops at their Episcopal plenary and met with the country delegates. The 2013/14 regional annual report is near completion and will be on the website and circulated to everyone in two weeks time. The link to the latest World Health Organisation’s country profiles for non-communicable diseases is now on the website. You can find the Catholic Healthcare Regional Network website at www.chcrn.org.com.  If you would like to receive the regional network’s electronic newsletter, please send an email to Maureen on regadmin@cathca.co.za with Subscribe Newsletter in the subject line.

 Useful links and articles

1. Spiritual care as a dimension of palliative care

An important report published in the October 2009 Journal of Palliative Medicine "Improving the Quality of Spiritual Care as a Dimension of Palliative Care: The Report of the Consensus Conference" calls for a true integration of professionally certified chaplains and pastoral care practice into clinical medicine. The report states, "Spiritual care models offer a framework for health care professionals to connect with their patients; listen to their fears, dreams and pain; collaborate with their patients as partners in their care; and provide, through therapeutic relationship, an opportunity for healing."

The report describes two important spiritual care models: the biopsychosocial-spiritual model of care, based on the concept of a person in relationship to him- or herself, others, community and environment, and the inter-professional spiritual care model, which describes healing work as a collaborative effort among the patient, the care team and the team's individual members. It recommends that spiritual distress or religious struggle be treated with the same level of intent as treatment for pain or other medical or social issues.


 2. Self-testing for HIV proves highly acceptable with little evidence of coercion or abuse (AIDSMap).

A community-based self-testing programme achieved 76% uptake of HIV testing in urban Malawi, with very high accuracy of test reading and linkage to care, researchers from Malawi, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine reported on Thursday at the 21st Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Boston. That study was presented at CROI in 2013.



CATHCA produces a regular e-mail newsletter called e-NEWS, with information about current CATHCA activities, new developments in the health field, courses and conferences, and news about health legislation.  If you wish to subscribe, fill in your details and click on the button marked "Subscribe" below:

More information

Click on a button on the left for more information about CATHCA, its history, membership, addresses of clinics and other institutions, structure, parish nursing programme, staff members, work with HIV/AIDS, and medicines.  

Contact details: CATHCA, P O Box 52015, Saxonwold, 2132

St. Vincent School for the Deaf, 158 Oxford Road, Melrose, Johannesburg

Telephone: +27 11 880 4022  Fax: +27 11 880 4084

E-mail : info@cathca.co.za