The Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia (CIDRZ) through its ACHIEVE Project, in partnership with the Ministry of Health, the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has piloted Six (6) Men’s Clinics at Matero Main, Matero Level one (1) hospital, Chipata Level one (1) hospital, Chilenje Level one (1) hospital, Micheal Chilufya Sata Men’s Clinic and Intercity Bus Station in Lusaka district.
The clinics are aimed at improving men’s health-seeking behavior for HIV services through male specific friendly services. Male providers were recruited and sensitized to provide services in a dedicated male-specific consultation rooms within the out-patient departments (OPD), where all men are fast-tracked to access all the services, or an independent clinic attending to only men with its own consultation room, registry, dispensary, counseling room, and a male circumcision room.
Speaking in Lusaka, CIDRZ Coordinator for Men’s Initiative and Community Health Post Dr. James Zulu, said that the establishment of the men’s clinics in Lusaka district had seen an increase in the access of health services by men aged between 25 years old and 49 years old on average. He said as of quarter one (1) of 2020, the number of men reached in the six (6) sites was Eight thousand seven hundred and fifty-seven.
“The average linkage to HIV was 102% as of 30th November 2018 in the 3 initial facilities which increased to 386.6% by June 2019. The average HIV positivity yield was 10% in November 2018 compared to 11.3% in June 2019. Overall Lusaka district linkage among same age group increased from 95% (Nov 2018) to 141% (June 2019). The HIV case finding was intensified as the yield in all facilities increased through index testing as men were more receptive to provide information on their sexual contacts as compared to the general clinic” Dr. Zulu said.
He added that Men’s clinics were enabling men to access integrated health services in an interactive manner and improved their health seeking behavior, by providing a safe space for men to interact with peers with special focus on sexual reproductive health and HIV related matters.
Dr. Zulu, indicated that from the data available it was possible that the increase in HIV+ yield and linkage, would have been influenced by men who previously never visited the general health facility and were now sharing their experience with their colleagues, as they were now spending less time to be attended to and were able to attend to other urgent personal issues, compared to when they used to wait for longer times before being attended to by a clinician.
He further said CIDRZ had since rolled out the Men’s clinics to Chongwe District in five (5) facilities with Chongwe District Hospital having a stand-alone building where male health services were being provided and in eight (8) facilities in Western Province.
CIDRZ was currently renovating rooms at Kaoma and Senanga District Hospitals to have specific Men’s Clinic rooms.