BY MOSES MUGUGUNYEKI
THE National Aids Council (NAC) has intensified its HIV intervention programmes by going door-to-door in a bid to reach out to communities in Makoni district, Manicaland province.
Some of the door to door HIV services include antiretroviral therapy as the country seeks to end Aids by 2030.
The programme, which is in its third year and is only implemented in Makoni district, seeks among other things, to lessen the burden on health facilities while at the same time it will assist communities to achieve high rates of Anti-Retroviral Treatment (ART) retention among people living with HIV.
A community-driven initiative, the community art treatment care facility (CATCF) is being implemented at six clinics and one hospital in Makoni district.
Seven cadres drawn from the community are attached at each health facility where they engage their communities at their door steps with HIV services.
“The idea of this programme is to bring HIV treatment and care to the doorsteps of people living with HIV, and even those without HIV,” said Spencer Banguza the NAC district Aids coordinator for Makoni.
“The CATCF programme also seeks to help communities improve ART adherence and our facilitators are in the communities to remind clients on ART.”
Banguza said the facilitators, most of them who got training on HIV services management at the commencement of the programme in 2020, also work with health facilities in condom distribution.
He said facilitators were more of HIV focal point persons in communities as they work with community ART refill groups and family ART refill groups, which are ART delivery models where clients voluntarily form into groups.
A couple, Prisca Kurida (32) and Moral Muje (37), who have been on ART for more than 10 years, hailed the CATCF, saying it has improved ART management within their communities.
“As for us, we would walk on foot for almost 9km from our home in Zindoga to this health facility (St Therese Hospital) to get our medication. You would find that distance would discourage one to get the medication and at the end of the day the patient defaults, but with the coming in of CATCF, we have noted some improvement on issues like adherence and frequent viral load testing,” Kurida said.
Nurse in charge of the opportunistic department at St Therese hospital Pius Makomo said the coming in of the CATCF programme has made significant strides in improving the welfare of people living with HIV in the area.
“CATCF is providing routine ART management to people living with HIV, decongesting the high-volume of clients on facilities and minimising difficulties in accessing ART,” Makomo said.
“Under this programme, we have managed to develop and maintain a feedback system with people living with HIV through the community cadres.”
Itai Madondo, one of the facilitators who work with 56 people living with HIV, said he collects a three-month supply of medication for the clients.
“We don’t just collect medication for them, but we also encourage them to go for clinical exams as well.”
Madondo said he has seen CARGs grow from 18 to 35 since the inception of the CATCF in 2020.
As of 2020 the HIV prevalence for Makoni district was 12% while ART coverage stood at 87%.