The year 2016 saw FACT receiving more funding from TEAR Netherlands targeting young people 15-24 years in Mutare rural (Ward 16 – Mafararikwa and Ward 17 – Takarwa) and Bikita (Wards 20 and 24). The goal of this project is to improve sexual reproductive health status and livelihoods initiatives among young people. The project started in 2016 and expected to end in 2018. It adopted the STAR (Societies Tackling AIDS through Rights) methodology to address issues affecting young people. STAR is a participatory approach that facilitates mobilization of people and communities affected or living with HIV and AIDS by providing a system for mutual reflection, planning and collective action towards HIV and AIDS. It offers an integrated response to HIV and AIDS using tri-focal lens of gender, human rights and HIV and AIDS. This is an all-encompassing methodology which deals with several issues linked to SRH.
• 12 community facilitators were trained in Bikita and Mutare rural districts on STAR Methodology and the cadres are now well equipped to roll out the STAR methodology in their districts.
• Sensitized 6 school administrators on livelihoods initiatives and SRHR information and services
• 300 out of the targeted 250 guardians were sensitized on SRH information and services for young people.
• Establishment of livelihood initiatives for young people focusing on 80 households
• Reached 55 young people with psycho-social support camping on SRHR and livelihood skills
A school-based STAR circle in progress at Nharira High School in Ward 17 (Mutare Rural District)
Supported by Population Services International (PSI) Zimbabwe, client initiated testing and counselling is the foundation of the prevention of HIV. The goal of FACT New Start Centres in Manicaland and Mashonaland West Provinces is to improve the quality of life and reduce the incidence of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and HIV among susceptible groups and the general population. In 2014 FACT’s client initiated testing and counselling centres (Chinhoyi, Chipinge, Mutare & Chimanimani) recorded more than 50 000 clients who came to access testing and various counselling services. This programme targets the 15 – 49 age range. The following are the objectives of the programme:
- To provide HIV testing and counselling services to the most at risk population in urban and hard to reach areas
- To improve pregnancy planning, spacing and prevention of unintended pregnancies to women of child bearing age through provision of family planning services
- To reduce cervical cancer with early detection and treatment of women who are or have been sexually active
- To reduce psychological and medical complications to survivors of sexual abuse through counselling, collection of forensic evidence and treatment
- To strengthen integration of sexual reproductive health services and external referral and tracking of clients for post-test support services.
In Mashonaland West Province, the programme is covering all wards in Kadoma, Chegutu, Zvimba, Makonde, Hurungwe and Kariba districts. FACT’s New Start programme has made the following positive strides since it started:
- Establishment of offices for family planning, Visual Inspection with Acetic Acid and Camera (VIAC) and gender based violence
- Integration of Sexual Reproductive Health services, that is, family planning, cervical cancer screening, counselling and medical management of survivors of sexual abuse. FACT New Start Centres have become “One-stop-centres” where clients access different services under one roof, hence the demand for HIV Testing and Counselling has increased.
- Successful transition from paper based to electronic data capturing using iPads
Supported by Population Services International (PSI) Zimbabwe since 2007, FACT has New Life Centres in Manicaland (Mutare and Chipinge) and Mashonaland West (Chinhoyi) Provinces of Zimbabwe. In Manicaland, the programme covers Mutare, Mutasa, Makoni, Chipinge, Chimanimani and Nyanga whereas in Mashonaland West the programme covers Kadoma urban, Makonde urban, Zvimba rural and Hurungwe districts. Working in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Child Care, the goal of the programme is to contribute towards the reduction of new HIV infections and the impact of HIV and AIDS to people living with HIV through comprehensive post test support services in Zimbabwe. The following are specific objectives for the programme:
- To provide continuous psychological, nutritional counseling and support for people living with HIV
- To reduce stigma and discrimination related to HIV and AIDS
- To reduce secondary HIV infection through positive prevention and positive living.
- To improve access to antiretroviral drugs (ARVs), treatment of opportunistic infections, subsequent care and support through a well-defined referral system.
- To engender a good working relationship with partners, in the treatment, care and support for people living with HIV programmes.
FACT New Life programme offers the following services to clients:
- Psychosocial counseling
- Nutrition counseling
- Basic facts on HIV and AIDS
- Positive living and positive prevention
- Prevention of Parent To Child Transmission of HIV
- Family planning
- Anti-retroviral Therapy (ART) adherence
- HIV workplace program
FACT activities in this programme are centred towards reaching out to the Zimbabwean populace with post test support services targeting the infected and affected, employees in workplaces and churches. Since the inception of the programme, more than 200 000 clients have benefited from post test support services offered by FACT in the two provinces. The New Life programme enhanced the normalisation of HIV in communities. Defaulter rate of clients on ART has greatly been reduced due to adherence counselling leading to improved quality of life and longevity of life to the infected. There has been increased access to treatment to clients and more importantly the project has seen clients accepting and disclosing their HIV positive status.