MaxART– Maximising Access to ART and Promoting Treatment for Prevention
Within the MaxART programme in Swaziland, SAfAIDS led and implemented community mobilisation activities, including leadership, community and policy dialogues, as well as demand creation community dialogues (DCCDs) and door-to-door home visits, to create a critical mass of informed and motivated community members to access services. These strategies were applied to engage both local leadership and their communities and mobilise them to access HTS, pre- ART enrolment, ART and allied HIV services, including PMTCT and ANC. Community leaders were engaged as the gateway to communities to cement programme ownership and sustainability. The past year focused on mobilising communities to take up the EAAA implementation model and to achieve this, SAfAIDS scaled-up collaboration with six partner organisations and their community-based volunteers (CBVs), including the Ministry of Health Rural Health Motivators (MoH RHMs) who operate in the country’s four regions.
EAAA Orientation of Community-based Volunteers
Two orientations were hosted for a total of 134 CBVs, equipping them with knowledge and skills to roll-out EAAA messaging through demand creation and social mobilisation activities, including door-to-door visits during the period. The CBVs included sex workers, workplace wellness focal persons in the construction sector, PMTCT community volunteers, community care-givers and RHMs. CBVs are the main vehicle for dissemination of EAAA study messages at community level. The orientations increased appreciation of the key EAAA messages and how to effectively engage and motivate various community members towards accessing HTS, ART, PMTCT or other HIV services. This training equipped selected CBV leaders with skills to facilitate, make presentations and conduct one-on-one conversations on EAAA and to communicate standardised EAAA messages through community demand creation events and door-to-door visits. Partcipants were equipped with a toolkit that included a facilitator flip chart, a t-shirt, IEC materials and a bag.
Demand Creation Dialogues
SAfAIDS hosted a series of population-specific community dialogues targeted at creating demand for HTS and linkage to EAAA for special groups categorised as most-at-risk. These groups were: sex workers, transport operators, workplace and the general community. A total of seven dialogues were conducted reaching 3,201 people, of whom 67 accessed HTS, of whom 11 HIV positive cases were linked directly to EAAA for ART initiation. SAfAIDS also hosted 3 youth-focused dialogues, framed around sports events, reaching 263 youth. During game breaks the youth were divided into group sessions to dialogue on EAAA and issues relating to their health regarding access to ART and other HIV prevention and treatment services at health facilities. HTS providers were available for on-site HIV counselling and testing. IEC material was also distributed during the event.
Door-to-Door Monthly Visits
SAfAIDS CBVs continued to conduct door-to-door home visits, mobilising potential clients to access ART and other HIV-related services from local health facilities. A total of 6,733 people were reached through this methodology (new and repeat visits at a ratio of 1:2), of whom 5,148 were referred for services and 1,804 reported access.