DEAF Zimbabwe Trust (DZT) has kick-started a community Anteretroviral Treatment (ART) defaulter tracking campaign aimed at reducing default rates and increasing uptake of the live saving drugs amongst people living with HIV.
By Michael Gwarisa
Speaking to HealthTimes, Veronica Mwanza from Deaf Zimbabwe Trust said the project also has a a disability component where they folloup and offer support to people with various disabilities.
We do what we call Defaulter tracking and psycho social support and adherence support to people living with HIV in selected areas that the project cover such as Mabvuku, Tafara, Caledonia, Lumanda and Nyabira. We do follow ups and collect defaulters from the names collected at health institutions.
“However because the project has a component on disability inclusion we do follow ups on them and provide support too as Deaf Zimbabwe Trust we provide with sign language support in counseling sessions and make sure persons who are deaf fully understand what it means when they are on ART thus Antiretroviral treatment… most have been defaulting not knowing that they are actually defaulting because of lack of information and support,” said Veronica.
She added that once the tracking is done, the clients are successfully re-initiated or brought back to HIV treatment and care and are closely monitored to ensure they don’t fall back into the defaulting trap.
“We make sure they join a support group that is inclusive enough to cater for the needs of persons with disabilities in terms of accessibility and communication in a language they understand… for further support those who are defaulting due to poor/ no family support are assisted in starting up IGPs thus income generating projects of their choice for continued support and sustainability as well.”
Under the program, Health service providers are trained by Deaf Zimbabwe Trust in disability management and basic sign language as well assigning sign language interpreters in health care facilities to empower the deaf community and persons with disabilities in terms of accessing quality healthcare and adhering to their medication even for increased health seeking behaviors.