Optimising digital technologies to strengthen community HIV programming in Zimbabwe

This abstract has been accepted at the 2024 DHIS2 Annual Conference

Optimising digital technologies to strengthen community HIV programming in Zimbabwe

Background: The Zimbabwe National AIDS Council (NAC) coordinates the multisectoral response to HIV and AIDS in reducing new HIV acquisitions. In this regard, a community focused Demographic Health Information System (DHIS2) was developed to collect, analyze and report real time data on AGYW and KPs HIV prevention interventions. Description: In 2021 NAC in partnership with Oslo University rolled out DHIS2 tracker leveraging on digital technologies to strengthen community based HIV prevention in Zimbabwe. 5000 tablets were deployed to community volunteers to capture data on eight HIV prevention models viz, Sista2Sista, Brotha2Brotha, Peer Led, DREAMS, Key Populations SASA, CATS and CATFs across Zimbabwe. The system was developed through analysis of various source documents and communications. These documents include data collection forms, registers, risk assessment forms, HIV service referral booklets, programmes implementation manuals, meetings with project staff and various ceremonies and occasions marking transitions in the process of development. Over and above tracker use on the tablets, the tablets were utilized for accessing online Programme content, communication platform for community volunteers to improve efficiency and turn around time for HIV prevention services provision. Lessons Learnt: Use of digital technologies enhanced efficiency in HIV programming through a harmonized digital approach where Programme tools, reporting forms and DHIS2 are all integrated on a single mobile device. This digitalization process eliminated multiple paper tools, reduced printing costs, travelling costs for report submission and delayed reporting. Furthermore communities and programmers optimised the DHIS2 communication platform to provide instant feedback on HIV interventions including real time performance monitoring. Through use of DHIS2 on the tablets, Peer Educators are able to track an HIV outcome for their caseload for differentiated service delivery. The software ensures the layering of HIV and SRH services for each client through use of a universal unique Identifier Code, generated by an algorithm that was developed by HIV implementing partners in Zimbabwe. DHIS2 offers expanded monitoring and evaluation utility in Zimbabwe, facilitating access to data across the HIV negative and positive cascades for decision making at community, district, provincial and national levels. Conclusion: While DHIS2 customization offers viable solutions to optimizing HIV programming, there is need for continuous improved device management strategies for the 5000+ mobile devices deployed in an environment with power challenges, erratic internet connectivity and high risk of data and device loss. Finally, technology ownership has brought about motivation of community volunteers.

Primary Author: Caroline Gosho

Digital Technologies, Community based HIV Prevention