Although CIDRZ primarily focuses on biomedical research and service delivery, we have a growing community department that works hand-in-hand with Zambian communities to empower individuals and families with the goal of improving and protecting the health of each member.
Community-Led Health Promotion
Through numerous innovative, community-led health promotion activities, CIDRZ community teams have provided education sessions for targeted community groups and developed informational, educational and communications materials on HIV, PMTCT, TB, cervical cancer and diarrhoeal prevention.
Our community personnel have supported and trained a large team of clinic based Peer Educators and Lay Counsellors to support patient enrolments and Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) preparation for newly enrolled clients, record patient vital signs, provide adherence counseling, child counseling, family planning counseling and nutrition counseling; assist with filing and documentation; and support data collection and review. These ‘Peers’ are also responsible for following up patients who drop out of care or are late for their appointments. All these efforts are aimed at improving retention in HIV Care and Treatment.
In addition to promoting provider-initiated counselling and testing in clinical settings through our PMTCT, cervical cancer, and TB programs, we have also developed a lay counsellor program to promote HIV testing at clinics, through mobile services, and door-to-door outreach. This PEPFAR/CDC-funded program supports HIV testing for more than 100,000 people each year, the vast majority of whom are reached through home-based HIV testing. The program operates in both congested urban communities and remote and poorly accessible rural areas. We have integrated Couples Counselling, Prevention for Positives (PwP) or Positive Health, Dignity and Prevention (PHDP), and linkages to care and treatment in all counselling services and continue to work with neighbourhood health committees, community groups and traditional leaders to promote better health seeking behaviours.