Mkoba 4 Polyclinic is situated in a densely populated suburb of Gweru in Zimbabwe, delivering essential healthcare services to a catchment area of over 47,000 people. With a staff of just 36, meeting the clinic’s obligations to every patient is a challenge. To assist, ALERT and Antelope Park provide non-specialised manpower in the form of volunteers to carry out administrative and observational tasks. This support allows specialised staff to concentrate on essential frontline services, such as midwifery, HIV diagnosis and treatment, and pre and post-natal attention.
HIV Diagnosis and Treatment
Under this initiative, Mkoba 4 Polyclinic offers psychosocial support to youths infected with HIV. Psychosocial support involves taking care of the emotional and social needs of people, for example, growing children need food, shelter and clothing, but they also need loving relationships and interaction in order to thrive, develop and learn.
As there are serious challenges affecting the youths concerned, such as the social stigma attached to HIV, discrimination, and issues with disclosure, the clinic aims to support them in accepting their diagnosis through individual and group therapy, and in adhering to the necessary treatment.
HIV Awareness Day
In support of this program, Antelope Park recently hosted a HIV Awareness Day, aimed at providing young people with information about the disease, and how to take care of themselves. The day was organised by volunteer Annerie Kemp, with support from the New Zealand AIDS Foundation. Mini workshops were held involving small group discussions and question and answer sessions. To encourage attendance, the event was held at Antelope Park, with lunch provided and a game drive at the end of the day.
To reinforce the session, attendees were given an information pamphlet to take home, which included a section on how to live positively with HIV. They were also given a booklet created by Annerie called, ‘Spread Facts, not Fear’, designed to dispel myths about how AIDS is spread.
The day was a success, with the youngsters not only learning more about HIV and how to cope with it but, just as importantly, being made to feel that they are welcome, appreciated and special.
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