Paul Kgatedi Meso – a man on a mission to treat HIV and TB in rural areas of Limpopo.

24 Apr 2024
Paul Meso
24 Apr 2024

Paul Kgatedi Meso recently completed his Postgraduate diploma in HIV and TB in the Faculty of Health Sciences at UCT. He is a champion for HIV and TB for the marginalised in rural areas of Limpopo, where patients are often overlooked and mismanaged.

Paul graduation
Paul on graduation day at UCT.

Paul grew up in a village called Ga-Rametlwana just outside Polokwane and went to the village junior and high school.  Once had had completed high school, he furthered his studies at Limpopo College of Nursing, in association with the University of Limpopo and Sefako Makgatho Health Science University, where he obtained a Diploma in Nursing: General, Psychiatry, Community and Midwifery. 
After finishing his community service at Polokwane provincial hospital, Paul was allocated to begin working at Perskebult, a primary health care facility in a rural area in Limpopo outside Polokwane. Here he soon realized that there was a huge need to help and manage unsuppressed patients as well as those who were not complying or adhering to treatment.  This developed a passion within him to work in the areas of HIV and TB. 

Curious about TB and HIV management

Paul Clinic
The clinic where Paul works

Paul started to examine what the challenges of the primary health care system were and asked himself how he could make an impact in these areas. Having worked in a variety of fields of healthcare, TB and HIV were diseases that were new to him. Every day he saw increasingly more and more people coming into the clinic with these two conditions.  Always on a quest to develop himself, he challenged himself to learn as much as possible to know more about HIV and TB.  He was curious to know more about the conditions and the management of them through antiretrovirals and medicines.  His potential and passion for learning was recognized by a friend, Mokgohloa M.D and others in the district and he attended a range of courses such as: Nurse initiated Management of Anti-Retrovirals, Clinical management of Paediatric HIV/AIDS, Clinical management of sexually transmitted infections, Provider initiated counselling and testing, Drug resistance TB and infection control, HIV RTCQI, Advanced clinical care in HIV/TB. On these courses he learned as much as he could about the management of TB and HIV. He was concerned to see that most babies and people with HIV were being neglected because health practitioners didn’t know how to manage them.  He recognized that there are other complications associated with these conditions and that one needed a holistic approach to managing these multi-layered cases which often involve other diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, liver and kidney diseases.  While the babies were experiencing challenges, health care workers had insufficient knowledge to manage complicated cases and Paul was aware of the need for ongoing education and training for fellow health-care workers to improve their competencies in providing quality care. 
Paul recognized that a multi-disciplinary team approach needed to be adopted to address the complexities of the problems associated with TB and HIV.  This entails working with social workers and psychologists and others, to address the multiple factors that result in patients not complying or adhering to treatment.  These reasons can be everything from stigma associated with the disease, access to clinics and economic factors.  

Embarking on studies in the Faculty of Health Sciences at UCT

After seven years of working in this field, in a high-volume primary care facility that treats on average one hundred patients per day, Paul realized that he wanted to develop his skills further in order to assist babies who weren’t tolerating medicines for TB/ HIV. He researched various study options and applied to UCT where he was accepted to do the postgraduate diploma in HIV and TB.  This online course meant juggling work and studies, undertaking assignments, research and assessments, but his hard work paid off and he graduated successfully in 2023.  While doing the course, he enjoyed studying, sharing ideas and collaborating with fellow practitioners from Cape Town and abroad about knowledge and patient care approaches. 

The path ahead 
Paul’s ultimate goal is to continue his studies and take on a Master of Philosophy in HIV/AIDS at the Africa Centre for HIV/AIDS management, since he is intrigued about dealing with the challenges and opportunities around managing all facets of HIV/AIDS in the world of work. He would like to develop his skills further and be able to effect meaningful change in the lives of patients with TB and HIV, while also teaching health care practitioners about how to manage complex cases. 

When Paul is not working, he enjoys reading and traveling and plays football on the weekends and during the week.