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 Sparkman Center for Global Health, 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