THE setting up of Static Sites along the country’s major highways and boarder posts is set to improve tracking of sex workers who would have been initiated on the Pre -Exposure Prophylaxis (Prep) drug to ensure HIV negative sex workers maintain their status.
By Michael Gwarisa
In an interview, National Aids Council (NAC) Key Populations (KP) coordinator, Jerry Manyika efforts efforts to kick start the Static Sites program are now at an advanced stage and they will be offering comprehensive Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) services for sex workers and other key populations.
“One indicator we will be tracking is the number of sex workers initiated on Prep every month. The aim is to have negative sex workers on Prep and prevent HIV transmission.
“We are still setting up. The four boarder sites have since been visited, Ceshhar has been introduced and they have recruited staff. What is left is to start the programme once we are done with procurement of vehicles, lubricants, prep and art commodities,” said Manyika.
He added that the program was funded by the Global Fund (GF) and they were expecting about 10 vehicles for Ceshhar to carry out their duties including outreach activities for female sex workers, male sex workers and transgender individuals.
“However, we have experienced challenges in delays starting, recruitment , procurement etc. Right now the GF has a delegation in Country to check on the progress and we hope that will expedite some processes.
“So its 10 static sites, four at borders and six others in the major towns. Including outreach they will cover 30 sites becasue from the static sites, they will do outreach along the highways to an additional 20 sites offering treatment services to the sex wokers, that’s were we need outreach vehicles,” added Manyika.
The Static Sites initiative was supposed to have commenced end of Marsh this year but failed to take off owing to challenges with recruitment of staff and procurement of essential equipment for the sites.
The static centers will be situated at boarder posts mainly Chirundu, Beitbridge, Victoria Falls and also the major Highways, that is the Beitbridge Masvingo Highway, Plumtree highway. We will also be present in the major towns, Harare, Gweru, Bulawayo, Masvingo and all the towns.
In Zimbabwe, the burden of HIV among female Sex Wokers is exceedingly high. According to the recently released HIV and Aids Estimates Report, the figure excludes people who have transactional sex and male sex workers.The HIV prevalence rate for the sex workers stands at an average of 55 percent, compared to the 13 percent national average.
According to the report, The size estimation for female sex workers were done in Bulawayo, Harare, Shamva and Mazowe using multiple methods. In Harare the number of female sex workers is estimated to be to be 12 800 and 6 800 in Bulawayo. In Shamva growth point, the estimate is 400 female sex workers and across Mazowe district the figure also stands at 400.