Monday, 17 July 2017

Youth Friendly Services

Mapping the Zimele Health Portfolio 

The WOW Powerhouse serves a
resource center for participants
HIV/AIDs is the leading cause of death among adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa (Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation, 2017). Adolescent girls and young women are disproportionately affected, with 2000 new infections each week among this vulnerable population (Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation, 2017). For the last six weeks, I interned for the Zimele Project, a multi-faceted health and psychosocial intervention program geared toward youth aged 10-24 years (Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation, 2017). Zimele hopes to reach over 20,000 participants and is the largest project that the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation has ever launched. By the end of the program, Zimele aims to achieve the following objectives: reduce the rate of new HIV infections among adolescents and young women; keep girls in school until graduation; and decrease the rate of teenage pregnancy (Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation, 2017)

Zimele is comprised of several different projects, and each project has interventions tailored to meet the needs of a different age group. During my time in Cape Town, I worked on the Women of Worth (WOW) project, which is a program that aims to uplift young women aged 19-24 years old through the provision of twelve monthly empowerment workshops. At WOW, I worked primarily on logistics and helped to develop the content for the empowerment sessions. However, my main assignment at WOW was to create a visual display of the Zimele Health Portfolio. This task entailed visually mapping out all of the clinic facilities in the Klipfontein/ Mitchell’s Plain area that have agreed to partner with the Zimele Project to provide adolescent youth friendly services (AYFS). To give an idea, some of the facilities launching AYFS include Hiedeveld Community Day Center (CDC), Hanover Park Community Health Center (CHC), Gugulethu CHC, Dr. Abdurahman CDC, Crossroads CDC, Nygana CDC, Inzame Zabantu CDC, and Mitchells Plain CHC.

In recent times, the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation conducted a series of interviews and discovered that provider attitudes inadvertently discourage adolescents from seeking health care services. To overcome these negative feelings, each AYF clinic facility will designate a special reception window where youth can access health services tailored to meet their needs. The services that will be available at these AYF clinics include mental health counseling, family planning, HIV and AIDS tests and counseling, among other services. 
This is the map I used to better visualize the
locations of the clinics

Thus, my overarching assignment at WOW was to create a visual diagram that mapped out each of the AYF clinics. In addition, this map needed to list all of the primary, secondary, and high schools that are in the closest walking distance to each of the facilities. This visual display of the Zimele Health Portfolio is incredibly important because it will help young people conveniently access youth friendly services. My supervisor informed me that the map will be distributed to all of the schools in Klipfontein/ Mitchell’s Plain area so that they can encourage their students to seek services at nearby facilities. This in turn will increase the number of youth accessing health services and will hopefully eliminate the challenges and negative feelings that young people currently hold about health care. 

Unfortunately, I was not able to complete the map before my internship came to an end because the facilities are still in the process of launching AYFS. However, I was able to pass on my assignment to a new WOW intern before I left Cape Town and I am very much looking forward to seeing the final product. I feel honored to have had the opportunity to work with so many amazing people at WOW and cannot wait to see how the project continues to uplift young women in the years to come.

A photo of my team and the ignitors on
our last day at WOW

- Payton Wall


Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation. (2017, January). An Introduction to Adolescent Research: HIV & Sexuality [PDF ].

No comments:

Post a Comment