What we do
Adolescents attending clinics receiving the enhanced Zvandiri programme intervention will receive Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) usual care. In addition, one to three trained and supported CATS will be allocated to the clinic to provide adherence counselling and support to adolescents in their clinic visits as well as on-going individualised community-based support.
The CATS are 18 -23 year olds, living with HIV, who have demonstrated commitment and competence in supporting their peers and are known to be adherent to ART. They have been recruited from the clinic in partnership with the clinical staff or from a local support group, and receive a small stipend. They receive capacity building support, including two weeks of MoHCC-endorsed training to equip them with counselling and community outreach skills plus knowledge specific to adolescents living with HIV. CATS also provide peer-to-peer support for each other (through a whatsapp group and via Skype) with oversight from a professional counsellor.
In addition to individualised support, adolescents will be invited to attend a monthly support group at the health facility, facilitated by a support group leader in conjunction with the CATS. Adolescents identified as being at critical risk of harm will be immediately referred for mental health services and/or management with the Department of Social Services. Caregivers of the adolescents will also be invited to attend a caregiver support group.
In addition to the capacity building support provided to CATS, the programme also provides PhD funding to support to local young scientist to conduct additional analysis.
To learn more about the Zvandiri model visit the Zvandiri Africaid website here.