Swaziland Launch Meeting
Paediatric – Adolescent Treatment Africa (PATA) is one of the consortium partners implementing READY+, a four-year programme across Mozambique, Swaziland, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe. The READY+ project aims to reach 30 000 young people living with HIV with integrated SRHR/HIV and psychosocial services. The READY+ project will:
⦁ Get young people ready to make informed decisions about their health and rights
⦁ Get parents and caregivers ready to support young people talk about sexuality
⦁ Get service providers ready to provide youth-friendly services
⦁ Get decision-makers ready to champion access to information, services and commodities for adolescents and young people living with HIV
Dr Margret Elang, PATA’s Programme Manager for the READY+ programme participated in the Swaziland launch on 30 November 2016. In attendance at the breakfast meeting, hosted by CANGO who are the Swaziland consortium lead, were the Zvandiri READY+ programme manager, and the International HIV/AIDS Alliance representative Georgina Caswell. Also at the meeting were the three CANGO local implementing partners (Super Buddies, Young Heroes and Nazarene Compassionate Ministries), Ministry of Health, NERCHA (the NAC of Swaziland), PEPFAR, UNAIDS, National Youth Council and other technical partners of CANGO.
The morning kicked off with a presentation by CANGO, which then led to a facilitated dialogue about the project. The following are key points that were discussed by the key stakeholders:
⦁ The Ministry of Health is eager to be involved in the programme, including support supervision and facilitating access to health facilities;
⦁ The Ministry of Health emphasised the importance of the consortium members engaging with technical working groups in order not to duplicate services and to understand what all partners are doing;
⦁ The importance of mapping existing programmes around adolescent health, SRHR and HIV
⦁ Partners were impressed with READY+ because of its focus on 10-24 year olds, especially the adolescents and the focus on addressing their specific needs around disclosure, relationships, treatment and mental health.
⦁ One of the young leaders at the meeting (a young woman) felt happy that READY+ targets both boys and girls. She feels that programmes supporting girls only are not effective because girls and boys live in the same communities together. She believes that boys who had not gone through the interventions as she had, are less informed.
Overall, the partners were very positive and receptive to READY+. The CANGO implementing partners organised visits to the health facilities for READY+ programme management, where scoping exercises to identify health facilities to work within the project commenced.
Mozambique Launch meeting:
The second READY+ project launch took place in Maputo, Mozambique on 14 December 2016; organised by the Mozambique consortium lead, REPSSI. Among the participants at the launch were; the REPSSI country office executive director Julio Mutemba, Virgilio Suade and colleagues; REPSSI’s four implementing partners (ADECC, Asociacio Hixikanwe, Oasis and Kindlimuka); representatives from the Ministries of Health, Education and Gender; the Dutch Embassy in Mozambique; Zvandiri READY+ manager and Georgina Caswell from the International HIV/AIDS Alliance.
Julio Mutemba presented the overview of the project and the discussions were facilitated by Virgilio Suade.
Key discussion points that came up in the Mozambique launch:
⦁ Schools: how will we work with young people in schools since that is where they spend most of their time, where there are existing clubs, where youth-led organisations work on SRHR issues and where teens spend most of their time
⦁ Stigma: working with both young people living with HIV and HIV-negative young people – how to work with both so we don’t further stigmatise adolescents and young people living with HIV both in the community and at the health facility.
⦁ Caregivers and parents: strong feelings that it is so good we are working with them and a call for us to focus on communications between adolescents and their parents because parents struggle to talk to their children about HIV;
⦁ Coordination: with MoH at country level and government at provincial level, as well as coordination amongst IPs so they can lift each other in the project
⦁ Why Beira and Maputo only?
⦁ Gender issues: how to work with young boys, who in Mozambique, are more likely to leave school when they learn about their HIV status
⦁ Need for psychosocial support for teachers too
⦁ Consortium-working: different organisations bring different knowledge
⦁ Resilience: we want resilient young people but also resilient communities (including schools, church)
The message from REPSSI colleagues is that data collection is a difficult and sensitive topic because providers are over-burdened with tools.
The team had a chat with the invited Ministry of Health official responsible for psychosocial matters, who mentioned rather briefly about SAAJ, a youth friendly programme being implemented countrywide. However, she noted that further information would be obtained from responsible officials directly working with adolescents and young people.
Ready stands for Resilient & Empowered ADolescents & Young People. The READY+ programme is led by the International HIV/AIDS Alliance and is supported by PATA, REPPSI, M&C Saatchi Global Services, GNP/Y+ and the AIDS Legal Network (ALN).