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D.4.The making of a team which delivers against all odds: unveiling the secret

Alick Kafunda: word alive VCT services-Blantyre

Objectives and Scope: Word Alive VCT Services-South Lunzu Site started offering services on 22/9/2004. An integrated site at South Lunzu Health Centre, Machinjiri, North-East of Blantyre it has 3 fulltime qualified VCT counselors, 2 government nurses trained in VCT counselling and 2 part-time counsellors. In a very short period of time the Centre has accomplished a great deal which is attributed to the making of a team which delivers against all odds. This paper shows how this has been achieved.


1. Charging the team: “Gaining the commitment of staff is a process that is primarily a question of leadership, or style of management.” There is a high degree of mutual trust and loyalty between the VCT site coordinator and his fellow staff. The Site coordinator strives to understand the social needs of staff & cater for them which helps them to support the employer rather than work against it. The Site Coordinator applies positive reinforcement regularly. Decision-making is participatory. The Site coordinator spearheads the elimination of status attached to positions and instills a strong sense of collective responsibility for the success of the site and cooperative effort rather than individual achievement.

2. Stress management & staff counseling: A chart was drawn stipulating all the coping mechanism. The site staff attends morning devotions everyday. Starting times and lunch hours are observed where necessary. Change of individual’s job responsibilities to include going out for outreach activities away from the counseling work. There are weekly, monthly and quarterly participatory job targets set for staff. Annual leave, public holidays & day offs are granted to VCT staff.  Counselors have well furnished rooms. Peer and supervisor-supervisee counseling is encouraged and implemented. Break-times are meant not to discuss VCT business, purely social. VCT staff join health staff for a sports day usually Fridays

3. Communications amongst South Lunzu VCT staff

There is a two way communication system which exist on the VCT site which helps staff to share facts, views and feelings.

4. Relationships with the health centre staff

Fortnight meetings are held between the site coordinator and the clinical in-charge to help cement working relationships and discuss issues of referral. Occasional meetings between VCT and health staff are held to share knowledge got from workshops.

The VCT site supplies the Clinical Officer with quarterly VCT data. Health surveillance Assistants help with VCT outreaches in their various Catchment areas

5. Maintainance of the team

A site needs to have a vision which is embedded in the organisation vision. Keeping communication lines as clear as possible. Delegation emphasized for appropriate responsibilities. Staff empowerment- involvement of site staff in day-

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