With support from Global Fund through the North Star Alliance, FACT worked with key populations at its Forbes Road Wellness Cross Border Project which targeted sex workers and long distance truck drivers. The project was situated at the Forbes Border Post, entry to Mozambique and offered services to Long Distance Truck Drivers (LDTDs), sex workers (SWs), and the general community members within 5km radius of the clinic. Services offered included Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) care and treatment, Malaria treatment and control through prophylaxis provision, Blood Pressure Checks, CD4 count testing, TB screening, HIV Testing, and Counseling, and Behavior Change Communication (BCC) materials and sessions. The project aimed to improve the coherence and the effectiveness of the regional response to HIV and AIDS concerning mobile and most at risk populations in order to reduce HIV infections in the SADC region.
Critical achievements the organization is celebrating under this project are;
a) Forbes clinic was nominated for best practices in the SADC region in 2016.
b) The centre launched the Southern African Prevention and Treatment Intervention Study (SAPTIS) in June 2016 and has provided critical data for understanding behaviour patterns of the mobile populations.
c) Allocation of a site by Mutare city council for constructing a clinic.
A total of 1925 clients received HIV Testing Services at the Forbes Road Wellness Clinic (RWC). The target populations who received services were community members residing near the clinic, long distance truck drivers (LDTD) from different SADC countries and sex workers (SW). The last two categories are considered to be at high risk of contracting HIV.
Data captured through the Client Intake Form which FACT uses for every visit which individual client makes to the RWC showed that sex workers are more vulnerable to HIV because they have multiple casual partners with whom they normally have unprotected sex as this is what the clients prefer. They cite that satisfied clients pay them more money which they need for sustenance. For community members, there was a mixture of non-use of prevention, as well as unfaithfulness to regular partners. The majority of drivers on the other hand revealed that they are faithful to one partner and use condoms for protection, most times.
Forbes clinic was nominated for best practices in the SADC region in 2016 mainly because in its effort to increase the number of Long Distance Truck Drivers accessing prevention, HTS and treatment services, it came up with what the clinic called the “Pizza delivery approach”.
This is a holistic package of bringing the earlier mentioned services to the clients at their doorstep(the transit truck park commonly known as the Dry port) instead of waiting for them to come to the clinic. During the outreaches routine blood pressure checks, CD4 count testing, and T-shirts distribution were used as the entry point to reach clients. This approach ensures uptake of services by truckers who normally chose to stay in the Dry port rather than visit the clinic.
Forbes RWC decided to use this approach after trial outreaches where they saw high numbers of drivers queuing up for services each time these were offered from the transit port.