Tanzania Project Spotlight: USAID Boresha Afya
By Wade Warren | July 11, 2019
Deloitte Tanzania is halfway through a five-year USAID-funded program called “USAID Boresha Afya- Southern Zone”. Deloitte Tanzania implements the program in 43 councils of Iringa, Njombe, Morogoro, Lindi, Mtwara and Ruvuma regions with its technical partners Family Health International (FHI360), EngenderHealth, and Management and Development for Health (MDH).
The core vision of USAID Boresha Afya-Southern Zone is to create a dynamic, integrated platform for delivery of health services that emphasizes intensified coordination and collaboration between the Government of Tanzania, health facilities, and communities towards achieving HIV epidemic control while integrating Family Planning, Tuberculosis (TB), Maternal and Child Health, Malaria care, and Nutrition through innovative integration approaches at all levels and opportunities.
The USAID Boresha Afya-Southern Zone program is making positive strides in reaching UNAIDS’s third “90-90-90 target” by 2020, which aims to achieve viral suppression for 90% of people receiving antiretroviral therapy.
Through local NGO Ilula Orphan Program (IOP), peer educators for people living with HIV (PLHIV) are employed as agents of change to encourage other PLHIVs to adhere to antiretroviral therapy, monitor PLHIV clients defaulting on care and treatment, and help combat stigma through health education and other efforts.
Photos courtesy of USAID. Pictured: Babeli Kikoti
Babeli Kikoti, 49, of Ibumu village in Iringa is a PLHIV peer educator. He became a peer educator because of his deep sense of empathy towards his fellow PLHIV. “I didn’t have anyone supporting me when I learned of my status,” said Mr. Kikoti. “I don’t want others to go through this alone.”
Mr. Kikoti learned of his HIV status three years after his first wife passed away from AIDS. He began taking his medication immediately. Today his viral load is undetectable, and he remarried a fellow PLHIV, Magdalena Mbena, whose viral load is also undetectable. Together, they have a healthy, HIV-negative son, Ibrahim (age 4).
Photos courtesy of USAID. Pictured: Babeli Kikoti and his family.
Mr. Kikoti takes great pride in his testimony and uses it in most of his sessions as a PLHIV peer educator in Ibumu village. He attends sessions at the Lyasa Image Dispensary, an HIV testing facility, to share his story and support his peers. He is currently in the process of forming an economic strengthening group to help PLHIV feel empowered as they advocate for their health and livelihood, regardless of their HIV status.
“HIV isn’t the end of our lives, it’s just a different beginning,” said Mr. Kikoti.