Jointed Hands Welfare Organisation (JHWO), with support from IMPAACT4TB through the Treatment Action Group (TAG), has implemented two rounds of small grants for TB Preventive Therapy (TPT) in the Midlands Province. The grants were largely focused on creating demand for TPT services through the involvement and empowerment of communities to take centre stage in the TPT response.
In the first grant, JHWO, in partnership with the Zimbabwe National Network of People Living with HIV (ZNNP+), trained a group of expert patients on TPT with an emphasis on the new shorter regimens. The trained cadres cascaded the information within their networks of People Living with HIV (PLHIV), resulting in an increased demand for TPT services, an improved TPT completion rate, and increased client knowledge of the benefits of TPT.
In the second grant, JHWO focused on building on the gains of the first grant to ensure communities are meaningfully involved in the TPT response. To aid the process, JHWO, with support from the Ministry of Health and Child Care’s (MoHCC) National TB Control Program (NTP) and the AIDS and TB Unit, CHAI and EGPAF, developed a Community TPT treatment literacy toolkit. The toolkit was endorsed by the MoHCC and used to train Community-Based Volunteers (CBVs) for further cascading within their communities. The toolkit was further disseminated and shared with networks of PLHIV for them to mainstream TPT within their work.
Working with the Stop TB Partnership Zimbabwe, JHWO is collaborating with TB Survivors to ensure the continuity of TPT work as well as the scale-up of the use of the Community TPT toolkit. TB survivors in Harare are forming support groups for TB survivors and have been assisted by the Stop TB Partnership Zimbabwe to apply for clearance to operate at City Council health facilities, providing morning health talks on TB, assisting clinics with contact tracing, and offering TB treatment support. These TB survivors have been trained on how to use the Community TPT toolkit and were also provided with copies of the toolkit. To date, four clinics in Harare (Dzivarasekwa, Kambuzuma, Mabvuku, and Mbare) are using the toolkit for morning health talks, helping to reach TB infection high-risk groups with information on TPT while also debunking myths and misconceptions around TPT. Most importantly, the clinics covered so far are already using the newer shorter TPT regimens, making TPT advocacy easier for the TB survivors.
To further sustain TPT work, JHWO recognizes and acknowledges that better results in TPT response can only be achieved through collaborations and an increased number of partners prioritizing TPT in their work. As such, the organization continues to engage prospective partners and stakeholders, soliciting the inclusion of TPT in their work, the empowerment of communities in TB and TPT, as well as the scale-up of the coverage of the Community TPT toolkit. In this vein, JHWO is in communication with the National AIDS Council (NAC) to use their national structures to scale up coverage and use of the Community TPT toolkit across the country.
Compiled by: Melody Mkundwi, Resource Mobilisation and Communication Liaison officer, JHWO
Checked by: Peter Dube, Program Manager, JHWO