New AVERT and Comic Relief partnership tackles HIV and TB in Zambia
AVERT has launched a new partnership to support communities affected by the dual epidemics of HIV and tuberculosis (TB) in Zambia, thanks to funding from Comic Relief.
Zambia has some of the highest rates of HIV and TB globally – an estimated 12.5% of adults are living with HIV, and 61% of all TB patients are also HIV positive.1 TB is one of the biggest killers of people living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa.
AVERT’s new partner, Bwafwano Integrated Services Organisation (BISO), provides education, treatment and support for people living with HIV and TB, vulnerable children and their families in Mkushi District, a rural area of Zambia. It also campaigns for change by lobbying decision-makers about the rights and needs of people affected by HIV and TB.
The project has trained volunteers to find people who are unwell in their homes and give them advice and support to access health services. AVERT’s Programme Manager, Laura Craggs, says “BISO has done so much to change the lives of communities in this really remote area. Before, people simply did not have the information they needed. This is the first time AVERT has worked with Comic Relief and we’re proud to be collaborating with both them and BISO to help change the lives of people affected by HIV and TB in Zambia.”
Esther (pictured above) was very sick and experiencing stigma from her community when she approached a BISO caregiver, Festo, for help. Festo helped Esther with her treatment, encouraged her to join a support group and signed her up to the small grants programme. Esther is now feeling much better and runs a small shop she set up using her grant. She says “now people who used to laugh at me come to me for advice and I encourage them to take treatment.”
Keep any eye on our website to follow the project’s progress.