For over a decade, the Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia (CIDRZ) has implemented HIV prevention and treatment programmes in clinics and within the communities to fight the epidemic among the general population in Zambia.
However, recent statistics show a sharp rise in new HIV infections among the adolescent population in sub-Saharan Africa. In view of this, new and innovative interventions are required to reach this population with HIV control programmes.
Responding to the challenge
With support from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, CIDRZ has introduced a new and innovative counselling technique, Motivational Interviewing, which is direct and client centred to elicit behaviour change by helping clients to explore and resolve ambivalence.
“This counselling style has been successfully used in improving adolescent behaviour in HIV programming and research. We want to enhance counselling techniques by using Motivational Interviewing for adolescents in order to improve adherence to HIV treatment,” says CIDRZ Social Behavioural Research Fellow, Jenala Chipungu.
This three-day training attracted a cohort of 50 people, drawn from clinics within Lusaka were trained in MI by a team of experts from the Behaviour Change Consulting: Dr. Sylvie Naar King and Mr. Maurice Bulls.
“The aim is to build capacity among health practitioners and technical experts in MI,” says Jenala.
Dr. King is a member of the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers (MINT) and has provided training locally, nationally, and internationally.
Motivational Interviewing has been demonstrated to be effective at all points of the youth HIV cascade and involves a:
- a collaborative, goal-oriented method of communication for strengthening a person’s own (intrinsic) motivation for change
- a systematic way of organizing a conversation to promote motivation and behavior change
CIDRZ Community team: Senior Community Advisor, Mr. Fresher Maphiri; Male Circumcision Coordinator, Bright Jere, and Western Province Community Implementation Officer, David Sitali are in Western province for community sensitization programmes on medical male circumcision.
“We want to engage stakeholders, particularly the Mongu District Commissioner, the Town clerk, the King of Barotseland – Litunga – through the KUTA and other traditional leaders in our catchment facilities on the need for male circumcision as a high impact intervention against the transmission of HIV/AIDS”, said Mr Jere.
“Our particular area of discussion is the concern on low male involvements Elimination of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV as well as low uptake of Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC) in non-traditional circumcision seasons in the province.
We want to solicit support to drive these programmes to their successful completion,” Mr Jere added.
Meanwhile, Mongu DC has pledged full support to these interventions and is particularly excited with the work CIDRZ is doing in the province.
He, however, emphasised the need for closer collaboration, coordination and pulling of limited available resources from all stakeholders to effectively and efficiently achieve program objectives.
Studies show that VMMC provides men with up to 60% protection against getting HIV from infected female sexual partners. Other health benefits include decreased risk of penis cancer, and reduced risk of infecting female sexual partners with the human papilloma virus (HPV) – the cause of cancer of the cervix.
The WHO recommends Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC) as a long-term HIV prevention strategy for countries like Zambia with low circumcision and high HIV-infection rates.
CIDRZ, with support from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), supports the Zambian Government’s National VMMC programme and provides services or supports circumcision facilities in Western, Southern, Lusaka and Eastern provinces of Zambia through static or mobile sites.
Health Systems Strengthening remains a critical component of the Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia (CIDRZ), as the organisation continues to supplement the Zambia Government’s effort to provide quality health care services to all Zambians.
With support from the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), CIDRZ is among the key supporting partners at this year’s Pharmaceutical Society of Zambia Annual Scientific Conference and General Meeting held under the theme: Strong Pharmaceutical Systems Improving Public Health Outcomes in Livingstone.
The Conference has so far attracted 149 pharmacists, pharmacy technologists, exhibitors and guests from all over Zambia.
In line with the theme, CIDRZ has been working with the Ministry of Health to build capacities and strengthen pharmaceutical systems through staff mentorship, improved drug storage conditions, equipment support as well as implementation of differentiated service delivery models of care to ensure an efficient health service system.
CIDRZ Lusaka Province Pharmacist, Muhau Mubiana made a presentation on the five Differentiated Service Delivery (DSD) models that CIDRZ is implementing to address various challenges that patients encounter, and reduce the burden and strain on the local healthcare system.
These DSD models are being implemented in 49 health facilities in Lusaka, Western, Eastern and Southern Provinces and these “are Community Adherence Groups (CAGs) with 8,892enrolled patients, Urban Adherence Groups (UAGs) with 2,373 patients, Health Post/Fast track Dispensations models with 23,073 patients, Scholars’ Model targeted at young patients aged 10-14 years has enrolled 349 patients and the Multi Month scripts model for patients receiving more than three month drug dispensations”, Mr Muhau said.
He added that there was need for a paradigm shift, where all stakeholders involved in the continuum of care especially pharmacy personnel, took ownership of public health activities and worked as a team to provide quality health services.
The Pharmaceutical Scientific Research Conference enables dissemination of current, original pharmaceutical research and practice that introduces new ideas, concepts and understanding of:
- Pharmaceutical Technology and Innovation
- Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
- Rational Use of Medicines
- Pharmaceutical Supply Chains
- Pharmaceutical Practice and Policy