ABOUT 1, 500 young females and children living in vulnerable environments are set to benefit from HIV service project to smoothen access of service to the two groups.
Titled: ‘Access to HIV services and promote care and treatment to street connected Orphans Vulnerable Children, Adolescent girls and young Women’, the project is sponsored by the US Embassy in Tanzania through the Fund of HIV/AIDS Relief (AFHR), at the tune of about 40m/-
It is a one-year project (December 2022-December 2023) run by a local nongovernmental (NGO) Cheka Sana Tanzania in Kirumba and Bugogwa wards of Ilemela District.
Introducing the project on Monday, the NGOs Executive Director, Mr Malembo Makene, clarified that the project is implemented in two wards due to high HIV prevalence rate in the areas.
“Based on our working experience in these areas through various projects we continue implementing in the wards, between 10 and 15 percent of the children and young females have been using illegal drugs and other intoxicating stuff, so that they can address their stresses caused by hardship found in street life.
As a result, they are engaging in risky sexual behaviors that expose them to HIV infections,” said Mr Makene.
Experience shows that the targeted project beneficiaries face various types of gender based violence, a situation that also exposes them to HIV infections.
Worst still, he added, the groups have no access to health education over various diseases, including HIV and reproduction, of which the project is set to facilitate.
It was further noted that the girls are set to undergo HIV screening and link victims to immediate medications to prevent them from new infections.
The young girls will also benefit from financial services and education to enable them engage in various economic activities and avoid street lives.
“They will be connected to relevant loans authorities for their investments,” said Mr Makene.
About 95 percent of beneficiaries are expected to be reconnected to their families at the end of the project, a move that will also assure HIV service access to the needy.
Both beneficiaries and their parents/guardians will also be connected to groups of Village Community Banking for improvements and sustainability of their wellbeing.
The meeting participants proposed regular public education to help young girls know how best they can access HIV related services.
Similarly, he said relevant authorities should set the services near girls living in risky environments because long travel to health services seems to have been discouraging them.
“And most are desperate. They need close counseling plus soft language,” said Kirumba Ward Community Development Officer, Mr David Lugeriji.