MSF sets more initiation sites in Chikomba

HARARE - Medicine San Frontiers (MSF) is set to open 11 new initiation sites in Chikomba District, a move meant to make antiretroviral (ARV) treatment universal.

MSF Chikomba field coordinator Jomah Kollie said the move was meant to push the district’s current initiation statistics.

“This is part of our efforts to beef up existing programmes. We would want to increase present initiation rates which stand at 60,9 percent, to about 100 percent in the district,” said Kollie.

Shumba, Unyetu, Pokoteke, Tavara, Madamombe, Mbiru, Nyamhere, Gokomere, Daramombe, Zvamatobwe and Rutanhira are the additional sites assessed for accreditation.

The organisation already runs eight initiation sites in Chikomba namely Nharira, Gandachibvuva, Chambara, Mushipe, Masasa, Pokoteke, Daramombe and Nyamhere.

Sadza and Chivhu hospital opportunistic infection teams are supported by MSF through joint visits to outreach sites.

Nharira Rural Hospital and Gandachibvuva Mission Hospital are to be dropped by December 31 while Chambara, Masasa and Mushipe will stop initiating by March 31 next year.

“Site assessment for the clinics which are going to be picked to replace dropped sites is scheduled for the first week of January 2013,” said Kollie.

MSF support in the area ranges from mentoring nurses to treatment of opportunistic infections including tuberculosis, ART initiation and follow-up for eligible HIV positive patients, HIV testing and counselling, HIV/Aids awareness and promotion services within the community, infection control, laboratory support and psychosocial and pharmacy support.

Recently, government announced that nurses will be trained to prescribe and manage ARV treatment.

Experts welcomed the move, but warned that nurses would have to be adequately prepared and supported to take on the additional duties.

Previously, nurses were allowed only to administer the drugs after a doctor had prescribed them.

The health sector is currently faced with human resource shortages forcing many people living with HIV to wait long periods before a doctor can initiate them to take ARVs. - Wendy Muperi

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