168214 Helping rural communities in Zimbabwe to cope with the vulnerabilities of HIV

Monday, October 27, 2008

Alima Musa, MD MPH , Health Department, Plan Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe
Mahbubul Islam, Dr , Plan Bangladesh, Dhaka 1212, Bangladesh
Luis Tam, MD DrPH , Plan USA, Arlington, VA
BACKGROUND. Zimbabwe's 10% of its 17 million population is HIV-infected (PLWHA) and 1.3 million children have been orphaned due to their parent's disease (OVC). This situation fuels a vicious circle of human loss, material poverty and discrimination. THE INITIATIVE. Plan Zimbabwe, an international, child-centered, humanitarian organization began in 2005 a program to reduce the community vulnerability to HIV. This program targets 150,000 households in 250 rural communities throughout the country. It is implemented in partnership with local community based organizations to: (a) raise awareness on legal rights of orphans and widows especially on inheritance and property rights, (b) peer and community edu-tainment to reduce stigma, (c) home-based care for PLWHA, (d) material support and counseling to OVCs and (e) offering opportunities for agricultural production and income generation in AIDS-afflicted communities. RESULTS. The program's midterm evaluation (May 2007) found: (a) Decreased stigmatization of PLWHA and OVC; (b) Increased condom use by 21% and a reduction in the number of reported sexually transmitted diseases by 34%; (c) Reduction in the number of multiple sexual partners by 19%. About 96% of the respondents reported that the program changed behaviors and attitudes on stigma and discrimination of PLWHA and vulnerable children. About 42% of the OVCs and 34% of PLWHAs benefited from food security and income generation projects. CONSEQUENCES. Participatory education of the community and improved livelihood opportunities of PLWHAs and OVCs reduced stigma and discrimination. Due to this success, Plan Zimbabwe is planning to expand this experience to other areas of the country.

Learning Objectives:
1. To provide ideas on how to deal with HIV-related issues of stigma, loss of income, loss of property/legal rights in rural communities of Zimbabwe. 2. To demonstrate that the project strategies were successful in coverage and outcomes.

Keywords: HIV/AIDS, Home Care

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Not Answered