Tanzania: Arusha Embarks On HIV/Aids Home-Based Care

AllAfrica.com | October 2, 2012

In this article from AllAfrica.com, the author writes about EGPAF's efforts to encourage home-care providers in Tanzania to add psychosocial support to their HIV/AIDS care services for targeted patients.

ARUSHA health workers are embarking on personalized, home care treatment and counselling for HIV and Aids victims as reinforcements to the usual formal medical services that the patients used to get.

"As time goes by, modern medicines continue to face challenges of emerging diseases many of which take great toll onto people living with HIV.
"It is therefore important to reinforce the usual health services with counselling, spiritual advice, home visits and fortified nutrition to patients," stated the regional health workers in their joint resolutions.

That came from the 2012 Annual partners' meeting, the 10th in the series geared towards promoting "local ownership and working together towards sustainable HIV-Aids programmes," among health workers in the country.

These are organized by the Elizabeth Glaser Paediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) in association with local governments. The meeting was opened by Arusha Regional Administrative Secretary, Mr Exaud Mwanga who called upon health workers in the region to go beyond the usual medical services while attending infected patients and use the available funds to provide other essential amenities such as home based care and nutrition.

"I understand Arusha Region gets a funding of US$ 1.4 million to cater for HIV and Aids programmes; that is a lot of money and in addition to the usual medication, the funds should also be used to provide other basic requirements for targeted patients including food, clothing and personalized home visits," said Mr Mwanga.

The Regional Medical Officer Dr Frida Mokiti said the 10th Partners' meeting was essentially meant to expound prevention of 'mother-to-child' transmissions, something which has always been nightmare to parents in the country.

Ms Janet Pallangyo the department of Reproduction and Child Care in Meru District said her precinct had succeeded in reducing the number of children born with HIV from 10 in the year 2009 to just 5 recorded in 2011.

Mr Christopher Mremi, the in-charge of the Region's Aids Control programme said Arusha's HIV prevalence currently stood at 1.6 per cent, but health providers at the moment were more concerned about the future of HIV-Aids projects that are still heavily funded by donors.

"Once our development partners leave; it is feared that a number of the ongoing programmes will forced to close," said Mr Mremi. The chairperson of people living with HIV club at the Mount Meru Hospital, Ms Anna Msuya said at the moment, people in the community were accepting Aids patients as equal persons and issues of stigma have been greatly reduced.

"Parents let me play and take care of their children something which wasn't possible in the past," she said, adding that, her club had a major responsibility to educate others because some infected persons were still self-conscious and afraid to participate in social and community events.

The Elizabeth Glaser Paediatric Aids Foundation in conjunction with Regional Health Management Teams (RHMTs) is organizing partners meetings in Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Tabora, Mtwara and Lindi regions between the 15th and 21st of November 2012. EGPAF is a global leader in the fight against Paediatric HIV and AIDS, reaching out to nearly 15 million women in 15 countries, with services to prevent transmission of HIV to their babies.