Zvandiri partners with Government to strengthen the capacity of its service providers to provide quality, evidence-based and holistic services for children, adolescents and young people living with HIV so that they survive and thrive. This is achieved through on-site and virtual training and mentorship for clinic and community-based health care workers and social workers including lay cadres such as CATS, Young Mentor Mothers, community health workers and case care workers. Training and mentorship focuses on integrating services which address the holistic needs of children and young people living with HIV.
We have also recently launched the Zvandiri-ECHO Paediatric and Adolescent HIV Service Delivery Training and Mentorship Programme with health care workers from Namibia, Ghana, Zimbabwe and Zambia. It comprises twenty-four modules delivered online through the Zvandiri-ECHO Hub to. This training programme is for service providers – doctors, nurses, counsellors, peer supporters, social workers and others – who are dedicated to providing quality, client-centred, holistic services for CAYPLHIV in low- and middle-income settings.
Adolescents living with HIV are at high risk of common mental health disorders, which affects their quality of life and adherence to their HIV medications. Zvandiri adopted a mental health screening tool to identify more clients in need of support. However, although the CATS were screening most of their clients, they only managed to identify a few with challenges. Zvandiri staff including the mental health specialist visited the sites to understand how best to support both CATS and health care workers in to introduce the mental health screening tool in a way that allowed clients to feel safe to discuss their challenges around mental health. They provided training and also discussed with health care workers how they could help CATS in their facilities to provide counselling by finding a confidential space for CATS to use with clients.
Two months after the training, the CATS had managed to screen a larger number of clients and identified more that were at risk of common mental health conditions. Of all clients identified, 98% were assisted with enhanced counselling from Zvandiri, with 87% being referred for further management. The increased effectiveness of screening has helped the teams identify new challenges in providing support for clients with substance use issues and in need of social services. The Zvandiri team is now training health care workers and CATS in how to jointly support children and adolescents with depression, anxiety, and trauma as very few health care workers and CATS have received training in this.
“There is need for consistent refresher courses. Our duties as counsellors are very stressing and very tiresome, so this type of meeting refuels us with more energy,
more knowledge, more self-confidence, and also builds resilience to bounce back, so I recommend that this type of support and supervision should continue.”
Mr Mupedze, Primary Care Counsellor Marondera District