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MSF in Zimbabwe, 2012
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The health system in Zimbabwe continues to struggle with the dual epidemic of HIV and tuberculosis (TB). Babies, children and young adults often do not have access to adequate care. At several locations, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) provides comprehensive HIV and TB care. The package of services includes rapid testing, treatment, counseling, prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) and medical and psychological support for victims of sexual violence. In 2012, programs were further decentralized and integrated into Ministry of Health facilities to improve patients’ access to services. In Tsholotsho, MSF staff work in the hospital and 14 rural health facilities, with a special focus on PMTCT, adolescents and children. As 40 per cent of patients came from neighboring Umguza district, the team trained nurses in Umguza to initiate antiretroviral (ARV ) treatment. A family support clinic was also opened at Tsholotsho district hospital, where MSF provided medical and psychological support to 100 victims of sexual violence.
A new program was launched in January in the district of Gokwe North. Staff in the district’s two rural hospitals and 16 health centers tested 13,900 people for HIV and registered 2,200 patients for care. A total of 325 people began treatment for TB. Here too, the teams provide care and treatment for victims of sexual violence. In Beitbridge, on the border with South Africa, MSF supported the Ministry of Health to ensure effective HIV and TB prevention, treatment and care. Staff worked in six rural health facilities to increase access to services. MSF also supported the district hospital’s outpatient service to integrate the treatment of opportunistic infections. Since the project opened, more than 6,100 patients have started HIV treatment, a third of the number estimated to be in need of it.
Focus on TB
Mentorship and handovers
Treating young victims of sexual violence
Psychiatric care in prisons
Sikhethklle received PMTCT treatment in Tsholotsho.
Thanks to the prevention program, my daughter was born HIV-free. I was so surprised that I called her Surprise! A nurse gave me the medicine I had to take before, during and after giving birth, and she told me what I had to do on the day of delivery. I did everything as the nurse told me, and when I went into labor, I took the two pills that I had been given at the hospital. I remember that day very well! I am so happy to see her; especially after all the time I suffered while I was sick. At that time I never imagined I could have a baby, but thanks to the prevention program I managed to have my daughter free of HIV. Soon she will be a year old, and she has already begun to take her first steps.