PopART Team Train in Anti-Stigma

Anti-stigma workshops were held for the PopART Community HIV Care Providers (CHiPs) and community mobilisers in three study sites: Ndeke, Chimwemwe, and Makululu, in September and October, 2015.
101 participants were trained, including PopART District Intervention Coordinators (DICs), social science research assistants, and some members from the Community Advisory Boards (CABs) and Neighborhood Health Committee (NHC).
The training organized by the PopART study Community Engagement team sought to train targeted staff who implement community education on Tuberculosis and HIV stigma, and have already been conducting related activities.
Steve Belemu, the facilitator said the training was aimed at building the experience of targeted PopART staff and to support them carry out stigma education activities during house-based counselling and testing session, at the clinics, schools and with local community groups.
The training, necessitated by the stigma encounters by study stuff in their routine field activities, sought to equip CHiPs with key information to identify, manage and address stigma relating to PopART staff and the communities they serve. It also aimed to improve strategies for linking clients to appropriate care in the PopART trial.
Mr Belemu said, “Our objectives were to enable participants to develop an in-depth and personalised understanding of TB and HIV-related stigma, its root causes, and effects on people with TB and HIV, their families, and communities; and for team members to be able to identify critical problems of TB and HIV stigma in their working contexts and develop practical strategies to challenge and advocate against stigma in these contexts.”
Kekelwa Liambela, PopART study District Intervention Coordinator in Kitwe, described the training as very beneficial to the team members and called for a longer training period because of its relevance to the work of the CHiPs, who she said were the foot-soldiers of PopART.
“In delivering the PopART intervention package in the community, the CHiPs encounter stigma in various forms, resulting from different causes and bringing forth different effects,” Mrs Liambela said.
She explained that the participants’ openness in sharing their views and experiences relating to stigma made the training more valuable.
Mrs Liambela urged the facilitators to enhance the stigma training and recommended an extension in the days to conduct the training. “There are lots of scenarios and experiences to be shared and therefore, the time allocated to this training was not adequate.”
Perspectives from the CHiPs
“The training was very enabling and essential in dealing with stigma.”
“Stigma is still on the rife in the community and this knowledge is timely.”
“Sometimes you think you don’t face it but talking about it in this forum was very relieving.”
“We all encounter stigma but we do not normally talk about it. This training is helpful.”
“This training has equipped us with relevant skills and ability to identify and address stigma in our daily work.”