A.13.Increasing VCT services utilization through outreach testing Programme
Objectives and Scope: Malawi AIDS Counseling and Resource Organization, which was established in April 1995, provides VCT services to individuals, families and communities in order to reduce transmission of HIV and impact of HIV and AIDS. The Organization has three stand-alone sites, one in each region to serve the communities with VCT services. Through out the years of operation, it has been observed that many people, especially from rural areas find difficulties to access services because of long distances they have to travel. The sites are located in urban areas serving a smaller segment of the population. There was and still is high demand for VCT services in rural areas, especially now that ARVs are becoming more available. The scenario led to a decision of scaling-up impact of VCT services through sites expansion programme. The expansion strategy includes new stand-alone sites and outreach testing services. This paper discusses experiences with outreach testing that started in 2004.
Methodology: In the year 2004, 13 Outreach Testing Sites were established in the three regions of the country. Each site operates once a week, except Khosolo, which operates on three consecutive days once a month. Two counselors provide both counseling and testing services at the sites (there is no separate laboratory). This reinforces privacy and confidentiality. The results waiting time is used for continuation of Preventive Counseling. The VCT check list developed by VCT National Sub-committee was used as a guide in identifying suitable sites for VCT services. The sites were selected, among other reasons, on the basis of availability of other service providers to provide care and support on referral basis. Clients that need additional care are referred to one or more of these groups for appropriate support. Community sensitization on VCT benefits, stigmatization and discrimination is being carried out by other providers i.e. MOH staff, NGOs and CBOs.
Results and Conclusions: A total of 3,137 clients received VCT services and learned their results.