Multi-sectoral HIV programme
Title: Multi-sectoral HIV programme
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Lead executing agency: National HIV/AIDS/STI/TB Council (NAC)
Overall term: 2013 to 2017
With a prevalence-rate of 14.3 per cent among 15 to 49 year-olds, Zambia has one of the highest HIV infection rates in the world. The long-term objective of the Zambian Government is to end the HIV threat by 2030. In the spirit of the sixth Millennium Development Goal, the country aims to halt the spread of the disease by 2015. To this end, the current ‘National AIDS Strategic Framework’ focuses on prevention measures. Its main emphasis is on comprehensive sex education, prevention measures and medical and psychosocial services for the 10–14 age group.
At the end of 2013, together with other countries of southern and eastern Africa, Zambia signed up to the ‘ESA Commitment’ to provide both comprehensive sex education and access to youth-friendly health services for the entire age group. Already four per cent of boys and six per cent of girls between the ages of 15 and 19 are infected with HIV. About 15 per cent of young people have their first sexual experiences before the age of 15. According to Ministry of Education statistics, one in every 100 girls become pregnant during their school years. At the same time, they have only very limited access to full and accurate information, or to sexual and reproductive health services. Schoolboys and schoolgirls aged between 10 and 19 do not receive sufficient protection from HIV infection or early parenthood.
In two districts of Zambia’s Southern Province, schoolboys and schoolgirls aged between 10 and 19 are better protected against HIV infection and teenage pregnancy.
On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), GIZ is working in two districts to support young people with HIV prevention and self-determined family planning. The main instrument used in this effort is a so-called ‘join-in circuit’, which the project runs together with its local partners.
The join-in circuit is an interactive exhibition consisting of five or more stations where trained facilitators impart basic knowledge on HIV to the participants, using quizzes, games and discussions. This approach makes it possible to sensitise whole groups of young people at higher risk of infection – such as soldiers, employees, schoolchildren, students or prison inmates – about the risks of HIV and means of prevention, in accordance with their existing understanding and needs.
In addition, the project is strengthening the decentralised structures of the National AIDS Council, supporting civil society organisations and assisting schools with the introduction of comprehensive sex education.
The individual areas of activity aim to ensure that:
- the AIDS coordinators at district and provincial levels, the AIDS working groups in the districts, and the local administrations improve their coordination of HIV prevention measures for young people
- selected, locally active civil society organisations incorporate the interactive join-in circuit as a long-term part of the range of services they offer their target groups
- actors in the education sector discuss the long-term integration of the join-in circuit as one element of their comprehensive sex education.
As participants in the join-in course, more than 20,000 people gained a considerable improvement in their knowledge of HIV and sexual and reproductive health.
The coordination function of the District AIDS Task Force and the quality of the work done by the District AIDS Coordinators have improved significantly. Some 36 facilitators from five civil society organisations received training in how to run the join-in course, while in the health sector, 60 peer educators were also trained. HIV testing was offered alongside all the training courses, an offer taken up by some. Information materials have been made available, promoting more advanced activities on the topic of sexual and reproductive health, and information centres have been equipped with materials on HIV and AIDS.