The executive director of the Zimbabwe Association of Church-Related Hospitals, Vuyelwa Sidile-Chitimbire, said PCCs were trained and certified by the Ministry of Health and would relieve pressure on nursing staff. “The ministry of health is now scaling up the programme to cover other state run hospitals nationally,” she said.
“Nurses spend a lot of time counselling, examining and treating one patient while others queue, there by delaying access to services. By introducing PCCs we seek to provide employment to educated and wise community members to foster community involvement in health matters,” said Chitimbire.
The counsellors know the lifestyle, ethics and particular problems of their communities, and are thus able to surmount the barriers that exist between nurses and patients, she added.
“So we would equip them with skills to focus mainly on HIV counselling, which takes between 45 minutes to an hour session supervised by a clinician so that they can articulate the conditions and seek behavioural change of the clients,” she said.
ZACH is a Christian-based registered non-profit organisation that links 130 mission hospitals and clinics in the provision of quality health care service delivery to the most vulnerable and marginalised groups of society. Since 2002 the organisation has trained 100 PCCs.
Meanwhile, health ministry in collaboration with ZACH and International Training and Education (ITECH) recently launched three programmes to build local capacity and provide comprehensive services to combat HIV and AIDS.
The programmes bankrolled by the United States President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR) aims to train over 8,000 healthcare workers over five years, provide clinical mentorship to health care employees at 1,500 sites with a monitoring and evaluation component.
ZACH board chairperson Mercy Chaka said 36 mission hospitals in all eight rural provinces would spearhead HIV prevention, care, treatment programme support: opportunistic infections, ART, HIV testing and counselling and prevention of mother to child transmission.
Fourteen vehicles to support VMMC programmes in 21 districts to reach out to the 70 percent of the population were bought under the $65m budget for 2013-14.Post published in: News