MWENEZI -The battle against societal
misconceptions about children living with HIV/Aids has, through robust patient
participatory capacity building mechanisms, become a cornerstone that is
yielding positive results in Mwenezi.
Courtesy of funding from the United
States Aid for International Development (USAID), the Mwenezi based
non-governmental organisation (NGO), Africaid, is spearheading the Zvandiri (accept me as I am) programme
targeting children, adolescents and young people living with HIV/Aids below the
age of 24.
With the backing of other stakeholders
who include the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) and the National Aids
Council (Nac), Africaid is currently supporting 1 860 children and adolescents
from which over 50 have received Community Adolescent Treatment Support (CATS)
Working closely with nurses in their
respective areas, the trained CATS operate from various clinics around the
district, regularly providing various forms of support initiatives, especially
monitoring their patient peers’ effective adherence to HIV treatment.
Africaid district mentor Lloyd Moyo
told TellZim News that the Zvandiri
programme has so far managed to ensure that the trained CATS were deployed to
all the clinics around the district where they provide support for effective
delivery of HIV and adherence support for children.
“From a total of 1 860 children
and adolescents whom we are currently supporting, we have 54 CATS whom we had
trained so far.
“They are operating from various
clinics around the district. Together with Nac, we also trained 15 CATS and this
coming October we are going to train 37 more CATS,” said Moyo.
One of the trained CATS said the
program is proving to be of great value to them and their peers.
“Although we regularly work from
the clinic, we at times make home visits especially to those children whom we
would have identified through clinic records to have defaulted their
“We also make visits to our peers,
identifying some of their challenges and forwarding them to patrons for
“We regularly educate them to be stress
free and to strictly adhere to their treatment. Key among adherence concepts
being to take the rightful quantity of medication at the exact stipulated time,”
A senior nurse who is based at Neshuro
District Hospital and closely works with the CATS said that the programme is
helping children embrace their conditions and creating a friendly environment
for the infected children and adolescents to take up their medication.
“Children should strictly adhere
to treatment so that by the time of their retest which is supposed to be
conducted after 12 months they would be on Target Not Detected (TND)
“Here in Mwenezi your find out that 60%
of children and adolescents are on TND stage.
“Such positive statistics are
undoubtedly as a result of the concerted efforts of such stakeholders as Nac
and Africaid’s Zvandiri programmme,” she said.
NAC Masvingo provincial coordinator
Agrippa Zizhou acknowledged the critical role that is being played by CATS in
ensuring effective delivery of HIV treatment and support for children.