The power of linking – results from a paediatric HIV exchange visit

The power of linking – results from a paediatric HIV exchange visit

To ensure that no child will be left behind in the health system, learning from best practices and lessons is of great value. Last April, Aidsfonds’ paediatric partners Society for Family Health from Nigeria and Zoë-Life from South Africa went on an exchange journey to learn from each other how to sustainably reach children with HIV care and support. First stop: South Africa. 

Highlighting KidsAlive programme

“Through the Aidsfonds Linking & Learning Initiative, we had an opportunity to host Dr Ehimen Etiobhio, paediatric and adolescent focal person at the National AIDS and STI Control Programme of the Federal Ministry of Health Nigeria, along with Mrs Aisha Dadi,  programme manager for Society for Family Health”, tells Nokuthula Heath, training manager at Zoë-Life. “The exchange learning started in South Africa where we had the honour to highlight how our KidsAlive programme is being implemented.”

Aisha and Nokuthula
Aisha Dadi (Society for Familiy Health) and Nokuthula Heath (ZoëLife)
Aisha and Nokuthula
Aisha Dadi (Society for Familiy Health) and Nokuthula Heath (ZoëLife)

Goodbye medication

Aisha Dadi: “It has been so inspiring. We have visited four clinics and a community centre where staff presented how KidzAlive has positively affected their work. This intervention equips healthcare workers with skills on how to work with children using child-friendly language and job aids. I spoke with Ayanda, who told me that when she started working with children she sometimes struggled to understand them, especially because of their age ranges. After attending KidzAlive training she is now able to understand them based on their developmental stages. And I met with Sister Ngwavuma, who said that before she was not able to explain to children complex words like ARVs. Through the training, she learned that instead she can say that it is important to take your goodbye medication to put the germ to sleep.

Aisha watches children using child-friendly tools
Aisha watches children using child-friendly tools
Aisha watches children using child-friendly tools
Aisha watches children using child-friendly tools

Outstanding results

Dr Ehimen Etiobho was impressed by the visit. "I must commend the Zoë-Life team for implementing this KidzAlive intervention. Across facilities and communities visited, where this programme is implemented, the results are outstanding as it pertains to disclosure and viral suppression among children and adolescents enrolled on the programme,” he says.

 “The Aidsfonds linking and learning initiative is a great innovation that enables cross-learning across the region”, Aisha continues. “This has created a tremendous opportunity for us as an organisation and as a country through the Federal Ministry of Health to learn how the KidzAlive programme is working on age-appropriate disclosure using their tools and app. It was an amazing experience and will plan to pilot the same in some facilities in Taraba State.”

Dr Ehimen Etiobho (right)
Dr Ehimen Etiobho (right)
Dr Ehimen Etiobho (right)
Dr Ehimen Etiobho (right)

Encouraging feedback

Nokuthula concludes: “Not only were we honoured to highlight KidzAlive, we are also happy with the encouraging feedback from both Dr Ehimen Etiobho and Aisha Dadi. We are looking forward to our exchange visit to Nigeria, taking place later this month so that we can learn from our Aidsfonds partners and present the KidzAlive intervention."

The Aidsfonds linking & learning initiative

Aidsfonds has set up a paediatric HIV linking and learning initiative in which we:
- Connect our local partners in multiple countries to exchange best practices and share challenges and solutions
- Encourage partners to learn from each other to validate and further enhance community-based intervention models, adjusting the model to local contexts
- Jointly share lessons learned at national, regional and international levels to influence future programming, policies and funding of other organisations, donors and governments.
More info about the Aidsfonds paediatric programming.

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