DAPP Zimbabwe has launched the Danish Emergency Relief Fund (DERF) supported Early Actions program. The Early Actions aim to contribute towards containing the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic and decrease morbidity and mortality among vulnerable people in Makoni District in Manicaland province in Zimbabwe. The project aims to reach 10 000 households at risk of contracting COVID-19 with correct facts about the epidemic and how they can protect themselves and each other .
Presenting the project at district sensitization meetings, Project Leader, Stailine Ruzvidzo said the main thrust of the project is to ensure that communities and people know how to prevent getting infected by COVID-19 and how not to spread the virus to others. This will be done through targeted information dissemination channels, outreach activities, screening and support for those affected. The intervention which is aligned with the Zimbabwe’s Humanitarian Response Plan (ZHRP) will work closely with the District Response Team and Ministry of Health and Child Care to identify those at risk and provide them with basic food assistance, COVID-19 screening as well as establish social support structures to stop the spread of COVID-19.
As part of measures to support vulnerable members of the community DAPP will establish water points to ensure that there is availability of clean water to maintain good hygiene. Community members will also receive skills training on how to establish and maintain vegetable gardens to ensure sustainability of food supplies. DAPP through this project will work closely with Rusape General Hospital to strengthen the established Isolation centre in the district, provide personal protective equipment for health care workers and donate a multi-purpose ambulance for patients and reaching hard to reach areas.
DAPP Zimbabwe in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Child Care (Shamva Hospital) organized a COVID-19 awareness campaign in Shamva district targeting communities around Madziwa Rural, Cornerstore, Joking 8 and Wadzanai township. The campaign was conducted earlier this month
As the nation fights the COVID-19 pandemic DAPP Zimbabwe has taken public health and hygiene messages to the most vulnerable people using road shows. The campaign reached more than 5 000 people in semi-urban, mining areas and rural areas.
The initiative has enabled the dissemination of key messages on COVID-19 in one of the most effective and efficient ways particularly during the lock down period. There is good uptake of messages and information as the roadshow team moved through communities spreading messages using loud speakers.
The key messages emphasized COVID-19 transmission, prevention, hygiene, social distancing and other important health and well-being issues related to COVID-19.
The District Environmental Technician for Shamva District Mr Evidence Mufambi spoke highly on the collaboration between DAPP and the Ministry of Health and Child Care adding that it was critical for marginalized communities to have access to information on COVID-19 to stop its spread.
He added that proper hand-washing and correct use of face mask demonstrations were going a long way in ensuring that communities are protected.The campaign demonstrated the need for continuous organizing and supporting the community with relevant information about COVID-19.
Development Aid from People to People (DAPP Zimbabwe) was the first member of Humana People to People to pioneer HIV/AIDS prevention work using the Total Control of the Epidemic (TCE) programme concept in 2000. Since then, TCE has reached nearly 1 million people throughout Zimbabwe, equipping them with the capacity to take control of their lives against the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
DAPP Zimbabwe recognises that people are responsible for their own health, but must be empowered to make the right decisions. People’s active participation in protecting their health can be done through community-based public health campaigns that reach out to individuals, groups and target populations.
The TCE Zimbabwe programme assisted nearly 700 000 individuals in developing a personal HIV risk reduction plan from 2000 – 2012. The model has enabled pregnant women to know their HIV status, get tested and receive counseling and undergo treatment. More than 50 000 pregnant women have received HIV support services to prevent mother-to-child transmission.
TCE has, over time, been funded by various partners; however, the first grant in Zimbabwe from USAID made it possible to provide evidence of a successful HIV model, leading to the interest of different national governments, and ultimately, expansion into 12 countries reaching 20 million people in Africa, India and China by 2017.
Today, DAPP Zimbabwe runs an HIV/AIDS programme, HOPE Bindura, reaching vulnerable populations with HIV prevention, treatment, and care services along the continuum of care. HOPE Bindura mobilises young mothers to attend and participate in pre-natal and ante-natal care sessions. Additionally, the project works closely with local clinics and hospitals; it coordinates with the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare to provide HIV services.
As of 2019, HOPE Bindura has engaged over 42 000 people in its community outreach work, with more than 25 000 referred for HIV treatment at various local health centers. 830 People Living with HIV were organised in community-based support groups to promote treatment adherence, receiving training in Internal Servings and Lending, and small livestock husbandry to improve their nutrition.
As the world continues the fight against COVID -19, the gains made in fighting HIV/AIDS must be maintained. Following the extension of the nationwide lockdown in Zimbabwe, HOPE Bindura’s voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) centre resumed offering HIV counseling and testing to the Bindura community in May 2020.
HOPE Project Leader Rebecca Njopera says providing HIV health services such as HIV prevention, testing and treatment remains a priority during the level 2 lockdown period in order to reach the 95-95-95 targets. “As we resume the services, we continue to adhere to laid down precautionary measures of social distancing, and hand washingt among others. The nurse and staff manning the testing centre worked together to ensure that both clients and the staff are safe.
New measures implemented to protect clients and staff:
- Both clients and staff are screened for COVID-19 symptoms before entering the clinic
- Both clients and staff wear face masks in the centre
- Water and Soap and hand sanitizer are provided for both staff and clients
- Staff advises clients on safe physical distancing.