Beyond Zero is implementing a Health Intervention Program for Young Women and Girls in Buffalo City District of the Eastern Cape Province. The project is funded by the Federal Republic of Germany through KfW Development Bank, and jointly commissioned by the National Department of Health in South Africa with DGMT as the executing agent.
The aim of Buffalo City HIV Prevention Project is, to ensure a reduction in the incidence of HIV, positive changes in knowledge, attitudes and practices, an increasing use of counselling and testing services and strengthen the self-efficacy especially of young women.
Over a period of 17 months, BZ has established AYFS activities in 64 clinics (84%) of Buffalo City Health District. All 64 YFS supported facilities have allocated 14pm to 16pm as “”happy hour’” to promote access to clinic services for school going youth pupils.More than 251 000 young people 15 -29 years are accessing health care services from the clinics in BCM.
Youth Friendly Services:
Young women are attending Health Clubs on regular basis for health talks, approach to managing gender based violence in the daily life of a young person and seeking economic opportunities. BZ has established 16 health clubs for young women and girls to date.
Preventative services in the form of advocacy, community mobilization, testing and counselling, SRH, condom distribution and linkage to care are part of the package of service on offer to young women and girls.
Over 500 SAG nurses known as AYFS Champion nurses have received trainings on values clarification, YFS, monitoring and evaluation, quality improvement and HTS.(MORE-Training infographic)
Female Sex Worker Programme
Female sex worker programme encompasses case finding, linkage to care and retention in care of both the HIV positive and HIV negative sex workers, condom distribution, SRH and TB screening services
In addition, all 143 female sex workers enrolled on the programme have the option to access health services at four SAG clinics that have been supported by BZ to be sex worker friendly as well as the option to obtain health services from an allocated general practitioner.
Three peer educators have been identified from the same sector and employed by BZ to provide awareness, screening, HIV testing and lead the four support groups that have since been activated.
Initial focus group discussions reveal the need for financial management or savings support programme, substance abuse support services, and mental health services. Of note during the discussions was the poor service and discrimination metered against the sex workers at public facilities and the vulnerability in the hands of their clients. (MORE – link to infographic)
Men Support Services
It has been widely documented that men are poor users of public health services including screening for HIV and TB. The target population is men of 25-50 years in the general population, men who have sex with men (MSM) and men within correctional centers.
Men of 25-50 years in the general population – Beyond Zero is address this challenge through an award from DGMT and kfW in an effort of mobilizing and engaging men in communities to address the harmful gender norms that inhibit men from seeking health care services. We are working closely with DOH to achieve male friendly health services in 10% of primary health care facilities in BCMM.Community based advocacy and outreach services are implemented through community dialogues and services on wheels using BZ men’s clinic mobile truck services. The main service package offered to the 25 -50 year old men is comprised of HIV,TB,STI screening; management of sexual disorders,SRH;condom distribution;HIV and TB linkage to care services; on communicable disease screening and management.
MSM – The group of men who are MSM is regarded as high risk of contracting HIV infection.BZ is targeting the vulnerable group through networking from within the sector, at BCM high schools, colleges, universities and social night clubs within the city. Although this is a hard to reach group, two focus group discussions have been held to assess their health service needs, access to services and behavioral matters in the context of HIV and TB.Preliminary findings attest to discriminatory attitudes from nursing staff, non-availability of appropriate commodities and non-availability of MSM friendly services in the public sector,
Men within correctional centers in BCM – Our focus amongst this group of men is the achieve of a positive behavioral change and improve inmate and newly released inmate’s experience of sexual health service delivery and utilization of health services.
Beyond Zero in collaboration with Department of Correctional Services (DCS) is rendering prevention services to inmates such as HIV and TB counselling and testing, condom distribution, health talks, SRH awareness and screening. Health awareness sessions, distribution of information educational material is distributed during facility support visits by BZ staff.
Peer educators are being capacitated to offer linkage services to the inmates including referral for ART initiation. Health care workers employed by DCS are capacitated through mentorship on sensitization trainings, HTS, 909090 goals, Tier.net and signing off of sites for implementation of Tier phase 6.
Newly released inmates are linked to services for continued HIV management and referred to existing support groups closer to their homes.