Village-to-village outreach strengthens Demand for HIV testing
Seke Rural Home Based Care, with support from SAfAIDS, conducted a Village-to-Village (V2V) Demand Creation Community Dialogue on the 18th of October 2016, at Nyakurwi Primary School in Marondera rural district, which reached 136 people, including five traditional leaders, Chief Svosve’s representative and the Ward Councillor.
A local women’s group entertained the crowd by staging a play focusing on the challenges arising from multiple concurrent partnerships and highlighting the prevalence of HIV-related stigma and discrimination within families.
HIV testing services (HTS) were offerred by the Ministry of Health and Child Care to those who expressed an interest in being tested, while the Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council held a session on family planning and sexual reproductive health services, including provision of secure pills for breastfeeding mothers and Marvelon pills for non-breastfeeding mothers.
Eighty-seven people, including the Ward Councillor, accessed HTS, of whom three women tested positive and were referred to the nearby Igava clinic for antiretroviral therapy (ART).
The Councillor encouraged families to adopt a family focused approach to testing, where everyone in the family, including children, all get tested. Mr Chapwanya, an official from the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education encouraged everyone at the dialogue to go for HIV testing and begin ART if necessary.
Community members expressed clear understanding and confidence that getting tested and starting ART as early as possible was superior to services offered by some traditional and faith healers who make unfounded claims and to be able to treat and cure HIV.
Traditional leaders were commended for their active involvement in mobilising their community for HTS, which had resulted in more people getting tested and accessing early treatment.
The V2V programme is an exciting participatory model that calls for the active involvement and participation of key community stakeholders. It ensures a multi-sectoral response to the uptake of HTS by taking it right to the village unit and within households. This is an integrated and sustainable intervention that triggers and strengthens community resolution in the national strategic response to access services and end HIV and AIDS by 2030.