Afya Hatua project benefits children living with HIV 

BAGAMOYO District Hospital’s HIV Care and Treatment Clinic (CTC) has managed to attain 99 per cent of the HIV Viral Load (HVL) suppression for 93 children under 15 years of age from December 2021 to March this year, it has been learnt.

The children are part of 6,384 individuals who are receiving care and treatment for HIV in the district.

The success has been possible with joint support from Bagamoyo District Council and Tanzania Health Promotion Support (THPS) under the funding from US CDC/ PEPFAR Afya Hatua project.

Before introduction of the project in the district in 2021, HVL suppression attained by this group was about 94 per cent.

Afya Hatua District Manager Dr Anneth Barongo said recently that stakeholders, parents and guardians of the children as well as the peer educators have been working hard as a team to attain the success.

“Children need close supervision when it comes to taking medications, especially on a daily basis. We involved all groups to make sure we meet our targets and we have succeeded,” she stated.

Provision of enhanced adherence counselling sessions to all children with high HIV Viral Load (HVL) through which the children, health care providers, caregivers and peer educators jointly engaged with parents and guardians to determine the causes for their unsuppressed HVL was part of the strategies of the project.

In addition to that, THPS has facilitated training on adherence counselling and on job training to two health care workers as well as facilitating transport fares to peer educators and health care providers at Bagamoyo District Hospital.

Bagamoyo District Council AIDS Coordinator Dr Zena Kipanga pointed out that, through the Afya Hatua project they have also succeeded in reaching out to 97 youth aged between 15 to 19 years and other 141 youth aged between 20- 24 years, who are living with HIV virus with the services and that the outcomes are encouraging.

“We saw the importance of reaching out to these two groups which are sexually active as one way of fighting infection rate in the area,” she stated. According to Dr Zena district’s HIV prevalence is at 6.7 per cent.

One of the beneficiaries, Mwajabu Omary (16) testified that she has been able to live a normal life after receiving the services.

She said, “Before joining these services, I was very weak and had lost hope for living but all has changed after I started to be under the support of the Afya Hatua project and Bagamoyo District hospital CTC team”.

According to Regional Medical Officer (RMO) Dr Gunini Kamba, there are a total of 53,450 individuals who are receiving treatment and care for HIV in the region whereby regional HIV prevalence is at 5.5 per cent.

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