In September we invited our Tanzanian trainees for the kick-off workshops of HIV & Treat ’n Care[e]Education course in Moshi, Tanzania. This course was organized in collaboration with the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC) and funded by Janssen pharmaceutical companies of Johnson & Johnson. In December we returned to Tanzania for the follow-up workshops.
During the follow-up workshops our Health[e]Foundation team together with local invited guest speakers and facilitators encouraged all participants applying an interactive “learn by doing” approach. Dr. Irine Kiwelu discussed mental health implications of a positive HIV status with the participants. Dr. Stellah Mpagama spoke of the challenges of HIV and TB coinfection. Dr. Nadia Kancheva, invited expert coming from Nairobi, opened the floor to discuss challenges related to pediatrics and HIV / pMTCT. Dr. Eva Muro discussed ‘Test and Treat’, the national ARV strategy in Tanzania, and gave a presentation on ARV toxicities. Two PLWH were given the floor to talk openly about their status and lives, with a special focus on the stigma and discrimination they encountered during diagnosis and treatment by health workers as well as by their own community.
Following the official opening, the first session of the workshop addressed treatment adherence: participants received an assignment to personally take “placebo medication” (= Dutch sweets) for two days to see how adherent they would be themselves. It is always an eye-opener to experience that doctors and nurses, who are much aware of the importance of adherence for HIV infected persons, find it challenging to be adherent, even for just two days!
During a brainstorm session participants listed and discussed challenges they encounter in their daily work with HIV patients and interesting solutions were given by the group members.
In conclusion, the workshops were rewarding, 60 participants left with well-deserved certificates and the participants who did not yet finish their e-learning training promised to finish the e-learning modules in the coming weeks!