ICASA 2015 Review
From the 29th of November to the 4th of December 2015, Zimbabwe was proud and honoured to host the 18th International Conference of AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA) at the prestigious Harare International Conference Centre (HICC) where almost all countries managed to attend this conference.
Among all the invited delegates our organisation Family AIDS Caring Trust (FACT) was proudly representing some of the National Christian Based Organisations (CBOs) of the host country Zimbabwe.
As an organisation we managed to have 2 presentations throughout the conference on how we are managing HIV issues within the communities that we are working in.
The presentations that were done were as follows:
- Oral Session Presentation: “Do mother support groups increase retention in PMTCT programmes? Preliminary results of an ‘INSPIRE’ randomised controlled trial in Zimbabwe”
This was presented in a session titled: “Towards eliminating mother to child transmission of HIV” where presenters from other countries like Nigeria, Malawi and Zimbabwe presented their case studies. Zimbabwe was represented by Dr Geoff Foster who is a Paediatrician by profession and is also the Board Chairman of Family Aids Caring Trust.
Please click this link to listen to the oral presentation he presented https://youtu.be/7fh3M5lTAUw
- Oral presentation: This was presented by the Household Economic and Strengthening Specialist who was the team leader of the group who created the poster. Under the topic “Exploring the role of socio-cultural and political construct in influencing behaviour change in Zimbabwe – The case of HIV & AIDS affected households in Makoni district.”
Summary of the presentation
Over the years much concentration has been given to the financial, human and physical capital and little attention was accorded for social, cultural and governance dimensions. The absence of a strong social network limits the capacity of HIV & AIDS affected households to fully recover from HIV and AIDS related shocks.
Assessing the role of community safety nets on mitigating the effects of HIV and AIDS in rural settings. Determining the extent to which social capital is complemented by culture and governance.
100% of respondents have been affected by HIV, and 88% of these are female. These were taken from funerals, meetings, churches and traditional gatherings. This aided by increased demand for HTS, ART, increased level of disclosure and reduction in stigma and increased use of condoms.
From the study conducted the researchers came to the conclusion that:
- Households living with limited social capital comparatively struggle more to recover from any form of shocks.
- Churches and savings groups are key in shaping human morality and behaviour in communities affected by HIV and AIDS.
- Functional community systems cultivate people's beliefs in their capabilities.
- Culture plays an important role in shaping people behaviour and their perceptions on HIV and AIDS.
Please read more on the actual presentation on the following link: http://www.slideshare.com/
- Poster Exhibition: “Home Visit Approach (HVA) as a tool for demand creation for sexual reproductive“
The poster was addressing the Home Visit Approach (HVA) as a tool for demand creation for Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH) services and HIV prevention in Manicaland Province of Zimbabwe.
A brief summary of what was being depicted was that:
Community members in Zimbabwe are reluctant to take up new and existing sexual reproductive health services owing to a number of misconceptions. Demand Generation (DG) is a national programme, implemented in 7 districts of Manicaland Province which is being funded by the Integrated Support Programme (ISP) from UNFPA and Global Fund (GF) New Funding Model (NFM) through National AIDS Council (NAC).
The study population was drawn from 261 wards purposively selected in 7 districts of Manicaland. Operational research on demand creation through the HVA at each home visit conducted by a BCF, persons reached and topics covered are entered into a register (HVR) and data is captured monthly into a database and reviewed.
There is an increase in persons reached out to as compared to the community centred approach in particular male involvement. And participation by young people in the home visit sessions.
Conclusions from the exhibition
The Home Visit Approach is an effective tool in the uptake of SRH and HIV services. The approach was found to be useful in promoting male participation and utilisation of Sexual Reproductive Health Rights services and is a cost effective strategy which guarantees sustainability.
Generally all the presentations that were done by FACT representatives came out to be very powerful and thought provoking that audiences were impressed by the finds in the researches that we did as an organisation over the course of the projects related to these presentations.
Our presence was also noticeable as we were integrating with NetCODe in the community village. NetCODe stands for (Network of Christian Organisations for Development). This is a coalition with 7 organisations, with a mission/goal of transforming lives with in communities through different interventions.
So the NetCODe representatives were at the conference mainly to exhibit their most significant change stories and more about the coalition to everyone who visited their stand during the duration of the conference.
Please read more about NetCODe on the following links: http://