By Sukuoluhle Ndlovu
Masvingo – Medicins Sans Frontiers’ success story in piloting the out of facility anti-retro viral drug community distribution facility have benefitted a lot of people in Mwenezi who were having difficulties in accessing ART.
OFCAD made it easy for patients to access ART in their respective areas which led to people adhering to treatment.
One of the beneficiaries, Easther Mutizirwa of ward 17 in Chovelele has a beautiful story to share to the people about how OFCAD bought change to her life through its implementation by MSF.
“When l heard about OFCAD from the health workers l never resisted the chance, I took the opportunity there and there though some people were pessimistic about it, l remained optimistic and today l have a different story to tell as following my heart became the best medicine for me,” said Mutizirwa.
ART became accessible to the people of Mwenezi and lessened the burden of travelling long distances to the nearest health care facility.
“The distance we had to travel to access ART was too much as sometimes if the rivers were flooded it meant we had to cancel our trips and wait till we could cross the river. This then made a lot of people default treatment as it was now a burden for people to access treatment,” she said.
Director of local NGO BHASO, Simbarashe Mahaso added that OFCAD helped the exposure of people living with HIV in Mwenezi.
“The support groups in Mwenezi helped with the exposure of HIV in the community and now there are many people on treatment. This made us realize there were different peers in the hard to reach areas who were having difficulties in accessing medication and this led to taking treatment into the community so there is real need to focus on those who are in hard to reach areas so that we do not have default cases,” said Mahaso.
OFCAD was introduced to the people of Mwenezi in 2018 and 26 people living with HIV have benefitted from OFACD. Eleven sites have since been rooted in Sandawana, Zvamapere, Makugwe, Mvoko, Peter Peregwe, Chovelele, Chamakudo, Dombodema, Madanwa, Mananga and Gadzikwa.
Through the OFCAD model, treatment became easily accessible for everyone who was in need of treatment and it ensures that people living with HIV access ART from Village Health Workers within their communities and closer to home.