Chitungwiza: Community-based AIDS Care and Treatment.

Video Interviews with members of the Batanai Support Group .


Photo by Nigel Sanders-Self

As the AIDS pandemic reaches a near majority of the community in many parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, the medical care system at the primary through tertiary level is severely under resourced to meet the challenge.

The primary care health system, which provides primarily antenatal, delivery and pediatric care, including immunizations and treatment of acute illnesses is not equipped to meet the challenge of a disease which will impact nearly a third of adults and one in 10 children. It is increasingly left to HIV infected people themselves, through their community organizations and extended family network to address the growing problems of HIV and AIDS. This begins with awareness of the disease, voluntary counseling and testing and the development of community prevention and education programs. As in the early days of the AIDS epidemic in the United States, denial and despair have created a silence, which is equal to death. Breaking the silence requires determination and community organization around hope and efficacy.

Photo by Nigel Sanders-Self

The Batanai support groups in Chitungwiza are the nidus of a new form of social organization in Zimbabwe, people united around a common problem of a disease and the toll it is taking on their families and community. The support groups began as a response to voluntary testing and counseling and prevention of mother to child transmission. Pregnant women were offered testing and counseling and those who were positive (at this point more than 30%) were further offered  Zidovudine or Nevirapine to increase their chances of having a healthy baby.  As the pace of VCT increases and intervention in MTCT is increased, there will be thousands of parents who learn of their HIV status.

Also see the Batanai (United) Support Groups

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