NAC CATCF programme for marginalised communities on cards 

Source: NAC CATCF programme for marginalised communities on cards | The Herald

NAC CATCF programme for marginalised communities on cards
From left District AIDS Coordinator for Makoni District Mr Spencer Banguza and the Care Facilitators

Yeukai Tazira recently in Makoni District

In a bid to increase adherence to Anti Retroviral Treatment in the marginalised communities, the National AIDS Council has introduced a Community Antiretroviral Treatment Care Facilitator (CATCF) model.

The model is being pioneered in seven facilities in Makoni District and will be rolled out throughout Zimbabwe. Since its inception, the pilot programme has impacted the lives of people living with HIV and AIDS positively.

The CATCF programme works in such a way that a facilitator distributes Antiretroviral Treatment (ART) medication to the patient’s doorstep.

Addressing journalists at St Theresa hospital in Makoni district recently, NAC District AIDS Coordinator Mr Spencer Banguza said the programme has been effective as shown by the sharp decline of patients defaulting.

“The programme is aimed at the provision of quality treatment care and support to the HIV community and also other prevention services that we are offering to those ones that not HIV positive.

“This programme is only being done here in Makoni District. We have seven facilities that we are working with, St Theresa being one of them.

“At each facility, we have seven cadres and the total number we have is 52 and this has increased efficiency,” he said.

He said that the aim was to bring the hospital to the community.

“We have services that are offered to people living with HIV and HIV negative people and the cadres act as a bridge between the facility and the community. Some patients find it difficult to come for ART resupplies because of time constraints, or fear of exposure and we have recruited cadres on the ground that we have trained as NAC with the help of the Ministry of Health and Child Care to offer these services to the community on behalf of the facility,” he said.

Speaking during the same event Opportunistic Infections Focal Person Mr Pius Makomo said the development could not have come at a more opportune time.

“The aim of the model was to decongest the hospital area and as you can see the hospital is not crowded anymore. We have 502 ART clients in total and the response to this programme has been good,” he said.

One of the care facilitators Mrs Harugumi Patricia Rwasoka said they have managed to open Community Antiretroviral Groups and Family Antiretroviral Groups adding that Viral Load detection has improved and most patients being below 1000 copies.

Another care facilitator Mr Itai Madondo said various measures to monitor adherence in patients were being implemented.

“ As a CATCF I have 56 stable clients. Pill counting is a way we use to monitor pill uptake,” he said.

Priscah Kurida, a patient under the Family Antiretroviral Group said the programme was convenient for her as she no longer has to walk two hours to the hospital for her ART resupply.

Another patient Mr Moral Muje encouraged people to get tested for HIV early adding that being HIV positive was not a death sentence.