Zimbabwe Young Positives (ZY+) network of young people affected and living with HIV. ZY+ works with well-established and functional community structures and systems. These structures include Community Health Advocates (CHAs), TB Champions, and Community Based Organizations (CBOs) peer educators; as well as support groups of young people living with HIV (YPLHIV), mentors and expert patients. All of these structures are involved in working on and expanding Differentiated Service Delivery (DSD) models within Zimbabwe.
ZY+ has been working through these structures for the 3HP project. They are critical in influencing and advocating for the improvement of health-related issues. They are also the bridge between the efforts of the health facilities, the community and policymakers. They have been highly successful in disseminating health-related information to the community as well as linking the community to the health facility through their advocacy work
With the IMPAACT4TB project this year, ZY+ trained a cohort of youth on the importance of TB prevention. This included training them on the new rifapentine-based regimens which have been introduced in the Zimbabwe health system. While the benefits of the products were noted, the structure barriers were the most common feature raised. These include issues of dealing with the double stigma (self well as external community stigma) of dealing with dual epidemics HIV and TB, the fear that if they do contract TB, they may no longer have an opportunity to live their dreams. Other peers also raised questions about having to take more medication, when they had just been transferred to dolutegravir-based HIV. ”Today it’s TB, tomorrow it’s COVID-19, what is next?” asked one participant.
Even with these challenges, the ZY+ structures continue to work as focal points to provide additional psychosocial support to youth who are struggling with the concept of TB prevention. The models work in a two-way structure;
The IMPAACT4TB project assisted ZY+ set up two additional structures in the community in two facilities. The project has also managed to
We have a long way to go, but the TB Prevention seed has been planted and with short-course 3HP, ZY+ believes that youth will lead the prevention movement if we continue with our treatment literacy and community monitoring efforts.
Organisation: Zimbabwe Young Positives (ZY+)
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