Ending AIDS by 2022: Manzini’s 20-years Milestone in The Fight
The Municipal Council of Manzini has over the years been playing (and continues to) a huge role in the fight against HIV and AIDS. Now that the globe is fresh from commemorating World Aids Day, it makes sense of the Municipality to look back and reflect on some of the milestones that have been achieved in the fight against the disease which the World Health Organisation continues to rank first amongst the most killer diseases in Africa and fourth in the world. The Municipality has been running an HIV and AIDS programme for 20 years now, providing services in four thematic areas; being HIV prevention, treatment, care and support, impact mitigation and response coordination. It is worth-mentioning that some great milestones have been achieved in the process and these accomplishments are contributing significantly towards achievement of His Majesty King Mswati III’s vision of ending AIDS by 2022. Please read on…
- PREVENTION MILESTONES
Youth Peer Education
This is a programme that is aimed at disseminating HIV and AIDS information and behavioural change communication to young people aged 10-24 within the vibrant City of Manzini. It is administered by trained youth peer educators who reach out to other young people in schools, communities, churches and other youth structures. Each year the Municipality reaches out to an average of 7,000 young people, empowering them with key messages and information on HIV and AIDS prevention.
Community PMTCT Programme
Taking a door-to-door approach, this programme covers an average of 250 clients every month; with education on how to prevent mother to child transmission of HIV and AIDS being conducted. The programme prioritises pregnant mothers, however, the whole family structure gets to be included during the educational sessions. As a result of the PMTCT (Prevention of Mother To Child Transmission) programme many HIV negative babies have been born by HIV positive mothers who were successfully taken through the paces of the programme during pregnancy, delivery and post-natal phase.
Condom distribution and education
Condom distribution is done in more than 20 strategic sites within the city; wherein condo-cans are placed and refilled at least twice every week; distributing over 80 000 units per month and an average of one million condoms per year. Education on condom use is carried out regularly at various sites to promote correct and consistent condom use. The RED LOVE Condom, which is now distributed by the national government, started in Manzini; having been introduced by the Municipality together with its partner, Aids HealthCare Foundation (AHF)-Eswatini.
HIV Testing Services
HIV testing services are provided in two facilities, namely; LaMvelase Help Centre and the Filter Clinic (which is located within the civic centre premises) as well as during outreach activities wherein mobile testing services are rendered in the different communities.
Treatment Care and Support
The LaMvelase Help Centre and Filter Clinic have been providing HIV treatment services for the longest time. The LaMvelase Help Centre alone, now ranked the largest stand-alone clinic in Eswatini, services over 18 000 clients and continues to accept more. On average, a total of 120 clients are initiated to Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) each month. Owing to the ever increasing number of people that register at the centre, an expansion of the clinic became necessary and Council provided a portion of the Old Agriculture Offices which were renovated in 2013 and are presently being used by the clinic. This facelift cost about E2.4 million. An additional expansion is on the cards as clients continue to flock in for services. The following services are provided at the LaMvelase Help Centre; making it a one-stop shop for clients on ART;
- TB screening and treatment
- Treatment of opportunistic infections
- Treatment of non-communicable diseases
- Sexual and reproductive health services
- IMPACT MITIGATION MILESTONES
Neighbourhood Care points programme (Social Centres) for OVC
The HIV and AIDS pandemic has left devastating effects on the people of Eswatini, with almost half of children under 18 years old either orphaned or made vulnerable as a result of AIDS deaths. The Municipality took a stand to avert this in 2005 wherein eight neighbourhood care points were established to feed Orphaned and Vulnerable Children (OVC). In 2008 these centres were upgraded so that they also offer free pre-school services in order to prepare the children for mainstream education through a programme called Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD). Today over 1,400 children are provided with at least one meal per day in the social centres and 228 of them are part of the ECCD programme.
- RESPONSE COORDINATION MILESTONE
The Municipality is also tasked with coordination of the HIV and AIDS response within the city. To this end, a structure called the Municipal HIV and AIDS Team (MHT) was established; incorporating directors of governmental as well as Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). So far the MHT is made up of 18-member organizations and is chaired by the Municipal Council of Manzini Chief Executive Officer. It sits once every three months to share progress on HIV and AIDS interventions carried out in the city. This is aimed at avoiding situations whereby two or more organizations find themselves providing the same service to one community. It also enables the Municipality to be aware who is doing what and where so that service gaps, if any, can be identified and possibly closed. Below is a list of member organizations;
MHT Member Organizations
|Organization||Category||Area/s of Focus
|1.Municipal Council of Manzini||Municipality [Coordinator]||HIV/AIDS and cross cutting issues|
|2.Church Forum||Faith Based Organization||HIV/AIDS and cross cutting issues|
|3. AIDS Healthcare Foundation||NGO||HIV/AIDS and cross cutting issues|
|4. Family Life Association -Eswatini||NGO||SRH, HIV/AIDS and cross cutting issues|
|5. Acts of Faith||Faith Based Organization||HIV/AIDS and cross cutting issues|
|6. Women Together||Community Based Organization (CBO)||HIV/AIDS and cross cutting issues|
|7. Eswatini AIDS Support Organization||Community Based Organization (CBO)||HIV/AIDS and cross cutting issues|
|8. REMSHACC||Parastatal||HIV/AIDS Coordination|
|9. Voice of the Church||Community Based Organization (CBO)||Media and cross cutting issues|
|10.TASC||NGO||HIV/AIDS and cross cutting issues|
|11. RFMH||Faith Based NGO||Public health|
|12. National TB Program||Parastatal||TB Services|
|13. Nazarene Compassionate Ministries||Faith Based NGO||HIV/AIDS and cross cutting issues|
|14. Lusweti||NGO||HIV/AIDS and Cross Cutting issues|
|15. AMICAALL-Eswatini||NGO||HIV/AIDS and cross cutting issues|
|16. Manzini Youth Care||Faith Based Organization||Youth & Cross-cutting issues|
|17. Autism Eswatini||NGO||Autism Programming|
|18. Hope House||Faith-Based Organization||Palliative Care services|
…2020 WORLD AIDS DAY THEME: WHAT IT MEANS TO MANZINI
The Global theme for World AIDS Day 2020 is Global Solidarity, Shared Responsibility. In 2020, the world’s attention has been focused on the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on lives and livelihoods. COVID-19 has demonstrated that during a pandemic no one is safe until everyone is safe; and leaving people behind is not an option if we are to succeed. Eliminating stigma and discrimination, putting people at the centre and grounding our responses in human rights and gender-responsive approaches are key to ending the colliding pandemics of HIV and COVID-19. The Municipal Council of Manzini views the 2020 World Aids Day theme as a challenge to put more effort into organising more partnerships towards the fight against HIV and AIDS. The Municipality wants to make sure that the fire continues to burn until next year December and beyond. Remember this is a shared responsibility, so please do your part. Please partner with the Municipality towards ending AIDS. We are a city that is inspired by quality in service delivery and we always aim to give world class service to clients, particularly citizens of Manzini. In the event that you wish to partner with the Municipality on any HIV and AIDS initiative, please do not hesitate to contact our office on 2508 5091.
…PLEASE GIVE TO MANZINI’S ELDERLY, OVC THIS FESTIVE
Manzini Municipality’s HIV and AIDS programme, as already highlighted, operates eight neighbourhood care points in various parts of the urban area. These centres feed approximately 1, 400 children per day in collaboration with partners such as the World Food Programme (WFP), Children’s Cup and Adventures in Mission. Citizens of Manzini, the general members of the public, the business sector, churches and the corporate sector are requested to contribute towards ensuring that these vulnerable groups of the city’s populace also enjoy Christmas. If you are willing to donate towards this course please contact the office on 2508 5091.