In 1999, the Rev. Fr. Stefan Hippler, was approached by doctors from the Tygerberg Academic Health Complex to investigate a supportive solution for the care and treatment of HIV positive children. Extensive consultations together with Dr Monika Esser, Head of Immunology at Tygerberg Hospital, led to the establishment of the first dedicated ward for the tertiary care of HIV positive children, the G7 Ithemba (Hope) Ward for Infectious Diseases.
October 2001 saw the official opening of the Ithemba Ward and the simultaneous launch of HOPE (HIV Outreach Programme and Education) Cape Town as a registered Non-Profit Organisation (NPO). At first HOPE Cape Town provided much needed Antiretroviral Treatment (ART) to children, which at that point was not supplied by Government.
This was achieved via HOPE Cape Town obtaining individual private sponsors for HIV+ children who required treatment. HOPE Cape Town also appointed their first medical officer. In 2007 the last HIV+ children on HOPE sponsored treatment were transferred into Government care as Government then started free ARV rollout to all age groups.
The further work of HOPE Cape Town is however still much needed and the long term purpose and goal of HOPE Cape Town is to directly address the HIV and AIDS pandemic by providing access to education, treatment and on-going flexible support in partnership with the existing provincial and municipal health structures, other NPO’s, Community Based Organisations (CBO’s) and communities themselves.