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Peter Kuthan / AZFA
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« on: July 28 2010 »

Binga, Zimbabwe, July 26, 2010: The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local partners are strengthening the delivery of HIV related services and initiatives targeting vulnerable groups in six provinces.

Speaking during a tour of the final of six first level train-the-trainers workshops for community volunteers providing HIV/AIDS support services in Matabeleland North province, a senior official at the CDC hailed the response from training participants saying the initiatives are meant to strengthen coping mechanisms among vulnerable groups.

“Our support aims to build capacity of provincial implementing partners who are themselves community AIDS service organizations and People Living with HIV and AIDS (PLWHA) support groups in the delivery of HIV related services and initiatives, to strengthen appropriate coping mechanisms among vulnerable groups,” said Gretchen Cowman, Deputy Director of the CDC Zimbabwe during a tour of one of the training workshops in Binga.

The workshop in Binga, a partnership between THE CENTRE in Harare and Ntengwe Community Development in Binga and Victoria Falls, targeted 30 home based caregivers and peer educators based in Matabeleland North between July 19 and 23.

Addressing journalists on the sidelines of the workshop, Fred Kachote, Executive Director of THE CENTRE, said the training has so far been successful, reaching nearly 80 district based trainers. He said the survival skills workshops had been held in Manicaland (with Dananai Care and Support group in Buhera), Masvingo (Batanai Support Group), Mashonaland East (Zimbabwe Women against AIDS, Poverty and Violence), Midlands (Gweru Women’s AIDS Prevention Association) and Harare (New Dawn of Hope Support Group).

Kachote said the workshop would assist PIPs to develop a cadre of multi skilled district and ward level trainers noting that his organization’s involvement went beyond just training.

“We want to provide technical assistance to PIPs in the development of HIV related policies, advocacy and lobbying, decision making and gender mainstreaming for PLWHA,” said Kachote, whose organization is also supporting an outreach officer in Binga through a local implementing partner, Ntengwe.

During the training, participants in Binga went through sessions on understanding HIV and AIDS, counselling, nutrition guidelines, treatment issues, and handling disclosure. They discussed cultural issues affecting the prevention of the spread of HIV.

James Munkuli, a home based care giver based in Kariangwe, 80 km south of Binga center said in his locality there is still a lot of stigma attached to HIV and AIDS citing local cultural practices that continued to present challenges to HIV prevention.

“Early marriages, wife adoption, and resistance to the use of condoms are still challenges in the prevention of HIV in my district, but our peer education programs are beginning to bear fruit,” said Munkuli, who heads a home based care group in Kariangwe. Munkuli said he hoped to train 18 other caregivers in his locality.

Munkuli and 80 other volunteers in Zimbabwe’s six provinces will undergo similar training in the future until they attain level 3 training certification. At this stage, he and the trainers will be able to implement a holistic HIV management methodology that entails nutrition counseling, psychosocial support through counseling, stress management, ART adherence, and alternative therapies.

This report was produced and circulated by the U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Section. Queries and comments should be directed to the Public Affairs Section on hararepas@state.gov, Tel. +2634758800-1, Fax: 2634758802  Website: http://harare.usembassy.gov

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