PSI Case Studies Complement Learnings at the World Social Marketing Conference

By Dana Sievers, Research Coordinator, PSI Over the next two days, social marketers and behavior change professionals from around the globe will convene at the 2017 World Social Marketing Conference (WSMC) to share lessons learned and best practices for solving the world’s most pressing social issues. A key highlight at this year’s gathering is the

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A Powerful Combination

Reaching challenging populations by integrating services under a social franchise brand

By Stephano Gudukeya, PSI Zimbabwe This year’s AIDS Conference has been a whirlwind of activity and information. One topic that has come up time and again is linkages and the challenges involved with connecting people to the services they need. It seems like a no-brainer – when services are integrated, it’s easier for people to

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Lovemore: The Story of a Father in Zimbabwe

Most couples don’t make getting tested for HIV part of their wedding plans. But when single parents Lovemore and Fungai got engaged, they decided it was a good idea before blending their families. Zimbabwe, where they live, is one of countries hardest hit by HIV. 

Even still, they were shocked when the counselor at PSI’s New Start center gently told them that their test results weren’t the same. While Fungai tested HIV negative, Lovemore was diagnosed with the disease. This is their story.

Fathers-Day-2013-Header

Lovemore is a truck driver from Harare, Zimbabwe. “My son stays with his grandmother because I travel so much,” says Lovemore. “But I’m glad I can come home to him and to Fungai, who I hope to marry this year.”

Lovemore met Fungai a year ago through her aunt. “We had so much in common – both in our thirties, divorced with a child,” says Fungai, who lives with her daughter.

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PSI/Zimbabwe Clinics Target At Risk Populations in Zimbabwe

By Dr Karin Hatzold, MPH, Deputy Country Director, PSI/Zimbabwe

DSC_556121 May 2013 (Zimbabwe) It looks like any other day at the New Start clinic in downtown Harare – a waiting area packed with clients about to be served by the team of 30 health care providers working at this site.

The PSI/Zimbabwe clinic offers services including HIV testing and counselling,  a range of family planning methods, TB screening and diagnostic services, rapid CD4 cell count testing , HIV risk reduction counselling and male and female condoms.

But today is different. The site just opened its doors to HIV positive clients requiring treatment and care.  The services, provided by a friendly team of doctors and nurses, are designed to serve those most vulnerable to HIV and least likely to have access to the highly active  antiretroviral treatment  (HAART ) services  they seek.  These clients include sex workers, their families, discordant couples (where one partner is HIV positive and the other is HIV negative), pregnant HIV positive mothers  and other vulnerable groups with difficulty accessing HIV treatment services in the public or private health sector.

This new treatment program, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), addresses the health needs of key populations currently not adequately met by the existing government-run health delivery system.

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A New Chapter in Tuberculosis Diagnostics

By Petra Stankard, HIV/TB Technical Advisor at PSI

In 1882, Robert Koch discovered the bacteria that caused tuberculosis (TB) and introduced sputum smear microscopy as a method for diagnosing the disease. It was a major scientific advancement. Thousands of scientific advances have followed—we’ve walked on the moon, eradicated smallpox and discovered the makeup of an atom. But until recently, in laboratories throughout the developing world, the diagnosis of tuberculosis remained firmly rooted in Koch’s discovery.

Unfortunately, smear microscopy is far from a flawless diagnostic tool. Time-consuming and cumbersome, smear microscopy often fails to detect TB in people living with HIV (one of the populations most at risk for TB disease) limiting efforts to prevent unnecessary deaths. Added to that, microscopy cannot identify whether the TB bacilli present in a smear are drug resistant. This consequently slows diagnosis and treatment of multi-drug resistant TB even as it becomes a growing health problem.

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Zimbabwean Parliamentarians lead by example in promoting male circumcision

On June 22, 2012, a group of three Members of Parliament (MPs) chatted quietly among themselves as they waited to get circumcised outside a make shift clinic set up at the Parliament building. They were the first of the 35 Zimbabwean legislators who were circumcised as part of the “Parliamentarians making the Smart Choice” campaign implemented by PSI in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare (MOHCW) and The National AIDS Council (NAC) for the Zimbabwe Parliamentarians against HIV (ZIPAH), a voluntary organisation made up of Parliamentarians. A total of 120 MPs were also counselled and tested for HIV during the campaign.

The ZIPAH chairman, Blessing Chebundo was the first to be circumcised having worked closely with PSI to motivate other MPs to get circumcised.  Blessing grew up in the small village of Shurugwi, 330 kilometres from the capital city of Harare.  Growing up, Blessing always had the ability to lead others.  In high school, he was appointed the head boy, and later became leader of a labour union.   He admits that the leadership skills gained during his early years at school, in church and later as a politician helped him to inspire his fellow legislators to lead by example by getting circumcised.

“I remember first hearing about male circumcision during a workshop conducted by PSI for community leaders in 2009. PSI explained the effectiveness of male circumcision in preventing HIV and urged leaders to talk about the new prevention strategy in their communities.  Later, messages on male circumcision began appearing everywhere on various media channels so that it was quite difficult to ignore them.”

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70,000 Men Circumcised in Zimbabwe Since 2009 Campaign Launch

New Zimbabwe covers the successful program to circumcise men in Zimbabwe. The collaborative effort between PSI and Zimbabwe has reached 70,000 men since the programs inception in 2009.

Zimbabwe has 1.1 million people living with HIV, including 150,000 children, according to the National AIDS Council. But the country has made significant gains in fighting HIV, which infected 14 percent of the population in 2009, down from 23 percent in 2003, according to the United Nations.

Circumcision is said to help reduce the risk of contracting HIV and the Zimbabwe campaign is targeting to have 1.2 million boys and men circumcised by 2015.

“Our main challenge now is demand creation, getting word to local communities encouraging more people to be circumcised. Local leadership that includes chiefs has to be involved and we are hoping that MPs will take the message to them,” Hatzold said.

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PSI/Zimbabwe’s Farai Chieza Speaks Out on Safe Water

Farai Chieza, from PSI/Zimbabwe, closes out the World Water Day 2012 reception with the US Senate by speaking about a caregiver he’s come to know in Zimbabwe. Earlier in the day, Farai participated in a round table discussion on diarrheal diseases and then conducted top priority Congressional meetings. Watch the video above to hear about the impact of unsafe water on the lives of women and families living in Zimbabwe.

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The Circumcision Song!

If all goes according to plan, gentlemen across Sub-Saharan Africa will get that procedure they’ve been thinking about after they hear this tune by a trio of African pop stars.

The song was launched at the International Conference on AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections in Africa (ICASA) in Addis Ababa at a reception lead by former president of Botswana Festus Mogae and important donors and stakeholders who support the Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision as an effective way to help stem the transmission of HIV.  The catchy song features a trio of famous musicians from Africa, including Oliver Mtukudzi and Winky Dee of Zimbabwe and Vee from Botswana.

The production and recording of the song in Zimbabwe (including the choice of the lyrics) was coordinated by PSI/Zimbabwe and the Champions in Botswana. Special thanks to Kumbirai Chatora from PSI for couching the musicians in Zimbabwe. The production and recording of the song was funded by the Gates Foundation.

We are told that an audience of 200 suits at the conference could not stay seated and danced away during the premier of the song. And why not? “You know you are a champion/Get circumcised!”

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Healthy Dose October 11, 2011

Top Story New Study: India Prevented 100,000 New HIV Infections By Targeting High Risk Groups    A study by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington, University of Hong Kong and the Public Health Foundation of India and published in the Lancet shows that an Indian program to focus HIV intervention projects

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Healthy Dose September 21, 2011

Top StoryPolio Outbreak Hits China A deadly strain of polio has crossed from Pakistan into China. BBC reports: Polio has spread to China for the first time since 1999 after being imported from Pakistan, the World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed. It said a strain of polio (WPV1) found in China was genetically linked with

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Healthy Dose August 29, 2011

Top StoryTyphoon Nanmadol Strikes Taiwan As the east coast of the United States begins recovery from Hurricane Irene, across the world Typhoon Nanmadol is causing intense destruction. It already struck the Philippines and Taiwan and is now bearing down on eastern China. From Voice of America: Typhoon Nanmadol produced torrential rains and winds of over

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