As Tanzania eagerly aims to attain the 90 percent of eligible Tanzanians HIV tested, the Benjamin Mkapa Foundation (BMF) has continued supporting this national agenda through partnerships. BMF as a Sub-recipient of the Global Fund grant under AMREF Health Africa- the Prime Recipient, conducted orientation about the new TB/HIV project to key counterparts, with the aim of introducing the project and its implementation plan in Arusha, Tanga, Mtwara and Manyara regions between 23rd to 31st July 2018. The orientation was conducted in two days in every region involving relevant Government officials, including the Regional and Council Health Management Team and Regional Secretariat) as well as Media Personnel.
Speaking to the participants in Manyara region, Mr. Evance Simkoko, Ag. RAS- Manyara region thanked BMF and its financial supporters to carry out the project within his region of which the Furaha yangu Campaign will be aligned within the project interventions.
Figure 1: Mr. Evance Simkoko, Ag. RAS – Manyara speaking during Orientation in Manyara region.
“During the National Launching of Furaha Yangu Campaign a month ago in Dodoma, The Prime Minister, Hon. Kassim Majaliwa accepted also to become a Champion for the Campaign of which now HIV testing has become main agenda countrywide. I call for every one of you to join hands and support the Governments’ agenda and efforts to efficiently strategize the scale up and implementation of this campaign” He said.
In the same event in Tanga Region, Ms. Monica Kinala, Ag. RAS of Tanga region, called upon the regional and district implementers within her region to effectively plan the interventions that would contribute to reach regional set targets for HIV/AIDs prevention, care and treatment indicators.
During the event, the Media personnel and drama groups appreciated to be part of the project through Social Behavioral Change and Communication (SBCC) activities, which are earmarked to be implemented within their districts.
Figure 2: One of the participant from drama group expressing his gratitude for being involved in upcoming HIV interventions in his district.
Amongst the invitees were also local drama groups from the same districts. Mr. James Moringe, a Chairman of Ngorongoro culture group drama group noted that the knowledge acquired has transformed him and was ready to be a champion to educate his society for HIV testing.
“I previously thought that the three 90s meant that someone has to test for HIV three times by interval of three months, but today I have understood what it is really means. When I go back to Ngorongoro I will give feedback to my group members what I have learned from this training, but also I will use the knowledge acquired to transform my community using theater performance show to attract many people for HIV testing during Combination Prevention Campaigns”. He insisted.
Furthermore, Ms. Sijawa Omary, Habari Leo Journalist working in Mtwara region, highlighted the impact she anticipates with her involvement with the targeted audience as she felt that her audience will have comprehensive information about HIV/AIDs of which will result into massive HIV testing.
“The mass media is a powerful channel of communication in the society to raise issues and educate the society to full understand about the HIV/AIDs and sensitize on HIV testing, as well as community’s’ participation in Combination Prevention interventions” She added.
Mr. Nsachris Mwamwaja, Head of Information, Communication and Technology from the Ministry of Health told media personnel and drama groups that the Ministry and project key implementers would strengthen the collaboration with journalists and drama groups to ensure that information regarding HIV/AIDs is well disseminated to the intended audience. He also highlighted key issues to be adhered during reporting and communicating on issues related to HIV/AIDs.
The 3 years TB/HIV project which extends from 2018 to 2020, will be implemented in 184 wards within 8 districts of Simanjiro, Mbulu, Ngorongoro, Monduli, Kilindi, Pangani, Masasi TC and Mtwara MC in those four regions of Manyara,Arusha, Tanga and Mtwara. BMF in collaboration with the National AIDs Control Program (NACP) will carry out Combination Prevention Campaigns which will involve clinical diagnosis and behavioral change interventions, as well as interventions that promote an enabling environment such as enforcement of supportive policies, addressing gender inequality and violence, health service integration and income generating activities.