Nkamanzi community information centre hosts training for community-based health educators

Harriet Kunene, Head of Programmes of the AIDS Information and Support Centre (TASC), was among the trainers facilitating a one day training session at the Nkamanzi kaGogo centre in Swaziland for more than 20 community-based health educators on 13 February 2013.

The training session was aimed at preparing health educators to rapidly scale up access to HIV Testing and Counseling (HTC), and Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) services in their communities. Topics covered included:

  • How to prevent HIV infection
  • Nutrition
  • Door-to-door visits to HIV positive people
  • ARV use and adherence
  • Home-based care
  • Data collection

Kunene said, “…the community-based health educators are very appreciative of the fact that they are recognized by the Ministry of Health that they play a key role in scaling up the uptake of ART in rural communities.”

Harriet KuneneCommunity-based health educators
Harriet KuneneCommunity-based health educators

She further said that “…the participants were inspired and encouraged by the refresher course and that the updates make them confident that they are in alignment with the Ministry of Health’s guidelines through the trainings offered by TASC.”

TASC is one of 15 implementing partners that work with SAfAIDS, a non-governmental organization mandated within the MaxART project to scale up access to HTC and ART services in Swaziland, through enhancing community preparedness and increasing advocacy efforts.

To complement the government’s effort, the community-based educators encourage people to know their HIV status so that if positive, they enroll and remain on treatment. They also collect data necessary to enhance the MaxART project.

The MaxART project seeks to scale up new approaches to achieve the elimination of new HIV infections in Swaziland (a country facing the highest overall HIV prevalence rate in the world).

The three main objectives of the MaxART project in Swaziland are to:

  • within 3 years, achieve universal access to treatment for those who are eligible, based on clinical and immunological criteria
  • evaluate the impact of universal access to treatment, at the current threshold of eligibility
  • provide proof of concept for treatment-centered prevention (TCP) through the launch and completion of a TCP pilot programme

For more information, please contact Ms Nana Mdluli: [email protected]