HIV Prevention

TB HIV Care Voices: Honing the mobilisation skills of our front-line community workers

Staff blog. Submitted by: John Mutsambi (PrEP Coordinator)

Community peer mobilisers and educators are the most important communication tool for health promotion and uptake of the different HIV prevention options that science has availed.

To hone the skills of these front-line health workers, who are working with adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) in uMgungundlovu (KZN), an intensive workshop on community mobilisation for HIV prevention was conducted from 7-8 May, 2018.

The forum brought together 42 participants, including 27 THC HIV Prevention Programme staff and 15 Girls Clubs mentors from Community Media Trust.

The training started with an overview of the HIV epidemic in South Africa and narrowed the focus to AGYW, highlighting the burden they carry as well as the combination HIV prevention options available to them –  which will soon include PrEP.

Thoughtful engagement and discussions on the importance of community mobilisation, the qualities of a good community mobiliser, their roles and responsibilities and how to plan effectively for community mobilisation ensued. During the workshop, a road map detailing the process from community mobilisation all the way through to the provision of clinical and care services was created. The training ended with a reflection on Idowu Koyenikan’s quotation which says, “There is immense power when a group of people with similar interests get together to work toward the same goals”.

TB HIV Care Voices: Reflecting back on our VMMC programme in OR Tambo

Staff blog. Submitted by Sithembiso Mabasa (Community Liaison Officer)

TB HIV Care (THC) started a VMMC programme in OR Tambo District in the Eastern Cape in 2012. Back then it was still taboo to even speak about medical male circumcision (MMC). The first time we kick-started the programme in Lusikisiki we (Zolani Barnes, Kwezi Shumi and Sithembiso Mabasa) were confronted by a group of traditional leaders who were so cross about the fact that we were introducing MMC. Threats were made then and even later THC staff members were often called names and verbally abused.

Through sheer resilience and determination THC stopped at nothing to bring this service to the individuals and communities of OR Tambo. Community mobilisation and demand creation activities were conducted in all corners of society (door-to-door campaigns, schools, community meetings and functions, churches, traditional imbizos, workplaces, national & provincial functions, bilaterals, taxi ranks, community radio stations, local newspapers, distribution of flyers, pamphlets, sport events etc). Excellent work has been done by our clinical team over the years, ensuring quality service (despite poor and often challenging conditions) and lives have been improved and saved.

Just this week we received numerous invitations from the Department of Education and Walter Sisulu University to present VMMC. Very soon THC will no longer provide VMMC in this district. Come the 30th June we will hand the baton over to Right to Care. But credit must be given to our entire team in OR Tambo for such gallant work – and being a part of history in the making.

For Right To Care, it’s their time to take the baton and run with it. I hope when the THC Team exit at the end of June 2018 they will say,”Wow we have made it”.

 

 

 

Cape Town’s drifters support Man Up campaign

The latest Capetonians to rally behind TB HIV Care’s Man Up campaign are legendary drifter, Malikah Daniels, and her husband, top local DJ, Ready D.

Drifting is an edgy sport, gaining in popularity in the Western Cape. Drifting events and competitions attract a predominantly male audience (perfect for our Man Up campaign) but the sport also appeals to a female audience – who love that Malikah is taking charge with her drifting skills!

Drifting, according to Wikipedia, is a driving technique where “the driver intentionally oversteers, with loss of traction in the rear wheels or all tires, while maintaining control and driving the car through the entirety of a corner”. Drivers are judged on line, angle, speed, style and “show” factor.

And of course you need a good car. Malikah’s drift car underwent a complete makeover and is now wrapped to carry the messages of our Man Up campaign.

The campaign will have a presence at various races and events over the next few months, including “First Wednesdays” where racing enthusiasts meet to enjoy cars and music. These events attract anywhere between 300 and 400 people each week; where our teams will be on hand to educate them about the benefits and importance of male circumcision. Because beyond the hype, drama and excitement we do have an important job to do. Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC) plays an important role in our efforts to stop the spread of HIV and STIs. It prevents heterosexual, female-male transmission of HIV by 60%. It prevents the transmission of STIs, reduces cervical cancer in female partners and can also reduce a man’s chances of developing penile cancer.

In terms of sexual health, VMMC, is an important consideration. It is also quick (the procedure takes about 20 minutes under local anaesthetic), safe and absolutely free.

DJ Ready D is excited to part of the Man UP campaign and equally excited to have his wife involved. He said, “Having Malikah on board with her drift car is symbolic of the important role that women play when helping to support and encourage their guys to take the necessary steps to ensure that their health is taken care of, and get circumcised”.

To book a free circumcision, SMS your full name to 35255 and a trained counsellor will call you back. Alternatively, WhatsApp the Man Up team on 064 877 9051.