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June 5, 2024

Karongi District: Religious Leaders, Local Leaders, and Health Care Workers from Catholic-based health facilities were trained on Pediatric HIV

To enhance the identification, linkage to treatment, retention in care, and viral load suppression among children, midwives, and staff responsible for HIV Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) at Catholic-based health facilities in Karongi District, a two-day training on Pediatric HIV was held from May 30 to May 31, 2024. Karongi District was chosen for its high HIV testing positivity rate, ranging between 2.84% and 3.66% (source: HIMS July 2022-June 2023).

This training was part of the Faith Initiative Project funded by Caritas Internationalis through the PEPFAR fund. It took place at Home Saint Jean Hotel and focused on three key pillars:

  1. Raising awareness to combat stigma and discrimination;
  2. Preventing Mother-to-Child HIV transmission;
  3. Enhancing screening, care, and linkage to treatment.

Following the training, healthcare workers were advised to promote early diagnosis, ensure linkage to care, provide adherence support, strengthen healthcare systems, foster community engagement, and uphold a political commitment, particularly at health facilities and various community gatherings (Inteko z’abaturage), parents’ meetings (Umugoroba w’ababyeyi), etc. They will also conduct targeted awareness campaigns featuring voluntary HIV testing and household visits, with a special emphasis on encouraging men to support their partners during the eight antenatal care visits.

The Health Care Workers working in group to elaborate the field visit schedule.

Previously, religious leaders from Karongi District underwent training on Pediatric HIV and the CaritasCare Mobile Application from April 23rd to April 25th, 2024. This training aimed to equip them to raise awareness against HIV-related stigma and discrimination, collect and report data using the CaritasCare mobile application, identify undiagnosed children at the community level, and facilitate their screening and treatment at health facilities as part of their daily responsibilities.

Furthermore, on May 23, 2024, Caritas Rwanda’s Health Department Team engaged with local authorities in Karongi District to emphasize their critical role and contribution in increasing the screening of children living with HIV and linking them with healthcare facilities for treatment. This collaborative effort also involves close cooperation with religious leaders and healthcare workers within this framework.

 

The Faith Initiative Project is currently being implemented in four countries: Nigeria, Ivory Coast, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Rwanda.