Angaza Zaidi: Shedding More Light

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Best Practices for HIV Voluntary Testing and Counselling in Tanzania

As early as 1983, the first suspected cases of HIV infection were identified in Tanzania, and by the mid–80s studies showed the disease to be widespread in all 18 regions of the mainland. Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT) services were available by 1989, but coverage remained low until the arrival of antiretroviral therapy (ART) offered hope of survival and an increased demand for testing services.

With strong political commitment from the government of Tanzania and substantial funding support from international development partners, an ambitious public campaign began in the early 2000s to raise awareness about the disease, and to encourage all Tanzanians to know their sero-status. With these goals, the first Angaza project was launched in 2001 followed by Angaza Zaidi in 2008.

In Swahili, “angaza” means “to shed light on” and “zaidi”–used in the name of the project’s second manifestation–means “more.” The Angaza Zaidi project’s subtitle, “Innovative Strategies to Rapidly Scale-up HIV Counseling and Testing Approaches in the Tanzania Mainland,” refers to its primary goal to improve the health of Tanzanians by ensuring that they know their HIV sero-status and take steps to protect themselves, and have better quality of life if infected. Both the original and subsequent projects have had tremendous success in making “Angaza” a household term synonymous with HIV counseling and testing.

The Angaza Zaidi project has continued to spread the word about HIV prevention and care, and the benefits of counseling and testing. It has also secured the reputation of the Angaza brand by building the capacity of VCT counsellors at partner sites around the country to deliver confidential, quality services. The project has done this by aligning itself with national HIV priorities and working with a number of key partners at national and local levels.

Managed in partnership between Amref Health Africa and Management Sciences for Health, the Angaza Zaidi project operates out of a central office in Dar es Salaam and four satellite offices known as Area Support Offices (ASOs) located in zones identified as the Lake Zone, the Northeast Zone, the Southern Highlands Zone, and the Coast Zone. Partner VCT sites in each zone received intensive capacity building and funding support as sub-grantees of the project. A limited number of additional sites in the central regions of Tanzania also received basic support from the Angaza Zaidi project.

As the project comes to an end, it is therefore important to identify and share the methods and strategies that made the project’s many successes possible.

Amref Health Africa and Management Sciences for Health have produced this book in the hope that the Best Practices described herein will offer stakeholders some direction in the continued support for VCT in Tanzania. A set of recommendations put forth at the end of this book may serve as a way forward that will guarantee the continuation of quality counselling and testing and keep Tanzania on course in its efforts to prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS, and improve the quality of life of those infected.

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