Service Delivery

“A female Zvandiri Peer Counsellor is sitting outside a hut with a male recipient of care. The ZPC is playing the masasi game with this RoC, providing peer counselling

what we do

Trained, mentored peer counsellors living with HIV connect with their peers in their homes, clinics, support groups and through mobile health. Zvandiri peer counsellors are 18-24 years old and known as Community Adolescent Treatment Supporters (CATS), Young Mentor Mums (YMM) and Young Mentor Dads (YMD). They provide information, counselling and support services to promote their clients’  physical and mental health and well-being. Supervised by health workers and Zvandiri Mentors, CATS, YMM and YMD identify undiagnosed children adolescents and young adults and support them as peers to know their HIV status, start and remain on treatment whilst also supporting their broader health, mental health, sexual and reproductive health and protection.

Nyasha's story

Nyasha never knew her father, he died when she was very young and she lost her mother when she was in grade 3. She went to live with her aunt and her family. Nyasha always felt they didn’t really want her around and they would say horrible things about her mother bringing HIV into the family.

Nyasha started dating Tendai. He was kind and Nyasha thought he really cared about her so after nearly a year together she decided to tell him she was living with HIV. At first, he said he loved her but then stopped messaging her and his friends started to ignore her too. She soon discovered he had told others about her HIV status and that they shouldn’t go near her. Nyasha felt so betrayed and angry and she stopped caring about anything. She felt there was no reason to live. Nyasha stopped taking her HIV treatment because she didn’t see the point in staying healthy and alive. She hated going to school where people gossiped about her and at home, she argued all the time with her aunt.

One day Patience, a CATS from Zvandiri came to visit her at home because she had missed a clinic appointment. At first Nyasha refused to speak to her but Patience didn’t give up. She continued to message and drop by until Nyasha finally opened up to her about what had happened and why she had stopped taking her tablets.

Patience talked to her supervisor, the counsellor at the clinic and Nyasha was referred to the mental health nurse. She didn’t want to talk with someone new but Patience went with her. Talking helped Nyasha, she felt better and Patience kept visiting her at home, talking and encouraging her. Nyasha began to realise she had so much for live for and she began taking her medicine regularly and taking care of herself. She hopes one day she can be a CATS like Patience.

Resources

The medicines alone are not enough!

The Young Mentor Mother Programme

Our future is now

Free to Shine – Increasing adherence to HIV treatment of pregnant and lactating women in Zimbabwe