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