8 May 2021
The Africa University Clinical Research Center in Phase 2 of the PAPSE Project engaged Mutare youth in an HIV Diagnosis, Prevention, mother-to-child transmission (MTCT), living positively and ART adherence HIV transmission awareness drive at the Old Mutare Mission whose aim was to educate, destigmatize and enlighten youth on HIV, its prevalence and how to mitigate its impact in the lives of those infected or affected and its effects on the larger community.
The PAPSE Project(Pillars & Plants: Prevention, Support & Empowerment for young people) aims to offer support group activities to students recovering from substance abuse.
Bishop Alfred L. Norris Sister in Charge Mrs. Tsitsi Murapa said at the opening of the meeting,
“We are fortunate that at Old Mutare we now have an adolescent’s clinic. Let’s give thanks to the Africa University Clinical Research Centre for launching the PAPSE Phase Two Project. It is important to know your HIV status , to learn about HIV transmission and to learn about drug and substance abuse.”
Sister Murapa went on to mention that the life skills that were to be imparted in the support group were not only for the youth in attendance, but also for those in their communities as they should feel empowered to go on to be trainers and disseminators of knowledge.
“We are aiming to work with youths and all problems which you face. After this project, you will be ambassadors in your own communities and will be able to inform others about the challenges brought about by abusing substances and drugs and how they affect our well-being as humans. As we go about our daily activities, we face problems which sometimes we don’t know who to tell. I can say to you, come to your adolescent clinic because this is your space where you can come and discuss your issues with counselors and get help. “
Representatives from Victoria Chitepo Provincial Hospital and Old Mutare Mission Hospital rounded out the panel of qualified trainers who were drawn from key medical institutions in the Manicaland region to enhance impact and further strengthen the ties that Africa University enjoys with local medical institutions and the community.
A miscellany of edutainment and clinical activities were offered as part of the adolescent clinic with private consultation rooms available for adolescents requiring a physical workup by a doctor or nurse. Addressing emotional and social needs , adolescents managed to get professional counselling services from a trained counsellor who also graced the event. In addition to the traditional review for physical ailments, Adolescent Health Specialists Sr Mutenure (Paediatric OI Nurse), Mr. Chitakure (Old Mutare Hospital), and Sr Murapa facilitated health talks .
The PAPSE team distributed Information, Education, and Communication (IEC) material to the adolescents sourced from stakeholders (Youth Alive, Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council (ZNFPC), and National AIDS Council (NAC)) which were used to direct a very informative question and answer session. Music and other activities made for a lively event after the health presentations.
The Africa University Clinical Research Centre (AUCRC) is a unit under the College of Health, Agriculture and Natural Sciences (CHANS) which seeks to promote a healthier and informed population through research and programmes in priority health issues with the involvement of the community and partners.