Before 2010, only doctors were allowed to initiate ART until the South African government announced its decision to decentralise ART initiation and task sharing to include nurse initiation of patients on ART. The programme entails adequately capacitating of professional nurses in managing HIV/TB co-infections, initiating paediatric patients on ART, pregnant positive women and adults. NIMART is a 3 to 5 days didactic training programme followed by five to six months of mentoring before a portfolio of evidence is complied that can be submitted for assessment.
Through the programme, Beyond Zero has seen an increase in the number of people initiated on ART as well as increased access to antiretroviral care services.
The decentralization and task sharing of services with Primary Health Care nurses has strengthened retention of patients on ART and reduced the number of unnecessary referrals to regional and tertiary hospitals.
As an appreciation and recognition of the work done by nurses in resource constrained conditions, Beyond Zero committed themselves in acknowledging and honouring the work done by professional nurses through a NIMART certification ceremony hosted by BZ and DOH.
Establishment of the highly successful Nurse Initiated Management of Antiretroviral Treatment (NIMART) mentoring programme has resulted in training of 1200 nurses in the Eastern Cape and KZN provinces during budget period of 2012 – 2016.
Towards the end of the award BZ had started conducting periodic clinical quality improvement assessments to strengthen the quality of care offered to clients on ART.