BackgroundThe Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) of Zimbabwe, together with ILO, UNITAID, Populations Services International (PSI) and the National Aids Council (NAC), have implemented a HIV Self Testing (HIV/ST) initiative in ten companies. The companies cover the mining, power, beverages and cement industries, and have a total workforce of over 47,000 people. All companies were already engaged in ILO’s VCT@WORK Initiative.
Salient features of the strategyA three-day training was organized for nurses and peer educators of the companies from 29-31 May 2019. Distribution of test kits commenced immediately after the training and joint teams of MOHCC and PSI visited companies to deliver the kits (Oraquick), provide further guidance and facilitate registration of companies in the national reporting system to allow them to report cases. A WhatsApp group - HIVST@Work - was created to allow companies to share their experiences amongst themselves as well as with the MOHCC, ILO and PSI.
Number of kits usedl
|% of total||Workers with reactive test result (self reported)||% of total||Confirmed test results and referral to treatment (self reported)||% of total|
Table: HIV ST test results and referral to treatment, between June and October 2019, 10 companies
- HIV self-testing was very well received both by men and women.
- More men were reached than women in all the three indicators - in usage ( 72%); in showing reactive results ( 59%) and in taking the confirmatory tests ( 57%).
- Companies used different models for the HIV self-test kits to be accessed, some gave the kits for the employers to test at home, others provided a private space at the workplace for testing and sometimes peer educators accompanied the employer with the HIV self-test.
- A review meeting with all participating companies was held in October 2019 and the lessons were reviewed jointly by the ILO, Ministry of Health and all relevant partners. It was found that training and the role of the peer educators were key factors to the success.
- The challenges of getting the data from the companies have been noted and are being looked into.
- The programme has been expanded to ten more companies.