MASVINGO – The Out of Facility Community Art Distribution (OFCAD) fronted by Batanai HIV & AIDS Service Organisation (BHASO) in Mwenezi has spread to Bikita District, The Midweek Watch has learnt.
OFCAD is a unique model pioneered by the Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF) aka Doctors Without Borders that has impacted positively the lives of people living with HIV and AIDS in Mwenezi and Bikita districts working together with BHASO.
Community health workers are responsible for collection of medicines for people with HIV and AIDS for distribution to the generality of the population.
Instead of every person who requires medication to go to the clinic, community health workers who act as volunteers collect the medication on behalf of other villagers to reduce travelling distances and expenses.
BHASO programmes manager, Kumbirai Prisca Mahaso-Mbirima told The Midweek Watch that this model was started in 2017 and is now being funded by Zimbabwe National Network of People Living with HIV(ZNNP+) under National Aids Council Trust Fund.
“As BHASO we are there to provide support services like counselling of the community volunteers who collect medication on behalf or others for example to reduce stigmatization for people with HIV and AIDS.
“The volunteers don’t need to be HIV positive as such although some are positive,” said Mahaso.
Mahaso said that the main thrust of this model was to provide services to the remotest places in Mwenezi and Bikita districts to curb HIV new infections and related deaths.
“The main thrust of this model was to provide services to the remotest places in Mwenezi and Bikita districts included so as to curb HIV new infections and related deaths”, said Mahaso.
“Another primary objective was to hold community dialogues with traditional leaders, having refresher training on the establishment of an OFCAD site and we are quite happy that community leaders embrace the interventions being done to curb the spread of HIV”.
She also said that the communities are appreciating OFCAD model as it reduces distance travelled by people with HIV to collect medicine from the nearest clinic.
At the moment BHASO is currently working with 21 clinics and in Bikita they have recently engaged Dewure, Mukanga and Odzi to facilitate the model.