Experts clients provided with mobile phones

AGPAHI bought cell phones for  270 expert clients as part of efforts to ensure that more people who are newly diagnosed with HIV (PLHIVs) are closely followed up for support so that they remain in care and treatment. World Health Organisation (WHO), Centre for Disease Control (CDC) and Ministry of Health Community Development Elderly and Children (MOHCDEC) recommend that HIV-positive patients receive a package of peer-delivered linkage services.

Initiated at the point of HIV diagnosis, and lasting for up to 60 days, the services take a people-to-people approach to supporting these individuals and keeping them on treatment. Expert Clients (EC) provide treatment support, encourage disclosure and help resolve real and perceived barriers to care.

Ms. Olympia Laswai, The Program Coordinator for HIV Testing Services for AGPAHI said the mobile phones will help the EC to closely follow up the clients with easy unlike in the past where they had to walk long distances to reach them” The phones were distributed in Mwanza, Mara, Shinyanga and Simiyu Regions.

She added that AGPAHI hopes that PLHIVs’ retention at care and treatment centers will improve following the procurement of the tools. “We hope that more clients will be called or sent text messages reminding them of their appointments and also followed up when they miss an appointment.”

In addition, HIV testing for sexual partners and biological children of the clients who are newly diagnosed HIV Positive will improve. “We believe arranging for HIV testing of contacts will be simplified, and therefore achieve the program’s goal of identifying more people who are HIV positive but do not know their status”

Mr. Simeon Odira, Expert Client at Shirati Hospital-Mara Region “With this phone, I believe, I will be able to follow up with my clients very closely. Some clients miss their appointments and when they come back they report that they forgot their appointment date, therefore I will be able to call them or send reminder messages. Also, ensuring that sexual partners and biological children of these clients are tested takes a lot of time to follow them up if you do not have a phone. With this mobile phone given to me, I can call my clients at any time and they can also access me anytime they want.

 

Mr. Simeon Odira, an Expert Client (EC) at Shirati Hospital in Mara Region, poses with one of 270 cell phones distributed to EC counselors in Mwanza, Mara, Shinyanga and Simiyu regions.

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