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Lusaka Provincial Health Office Engages Stakeholders in the Establishment of Men’s Clinics in Rufunsa District

In Zambia, like many other countries, health outcomes among men are substantially worse than in women due to poor health-seeking behaviours. This gender-based discrepancy in health requires concerted efforts to ensure that men willingly access health care services. One such identified recourse was establishing men-friendly clinics to address men’s health issues.

The Ministry of Health is implementing Differentiated Service Delivery models to improve healthcare. The poor health-seeking behaviours among men have caused them men to lag in achieving the 95-95-95 UNAIDS targets. This prompted the Lusaka Provincial Health Office (LPHO) to start the Finding Men Initiative in Lusaka province.

With support from The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia (CIDRZ) has intensified its technical and financial support to the LPHO to establish men-friendly clinics across the province. CIDRZ’s support towards the Men’s Clinic Initiative has seen 33 clinics established in four districts of Lusaka province (Chilanga, Chongwe, Kafue and Lusaka).

This year, the CIDRZ Men’s Clinic Initiative intends to establish similar clinics in Luangwa and Rufunsa districts. Consequently, in April, CIDRZ supported LPHO in carrying out stakeholder engagement meetings with Traditional, Religious and Community Leaderships together with health facility staff in Rufunsa district in pursuit of establishing three Men’s Clinics. A similar undertaking is planned for the Luangwa district.

CIDRZ Men’s Clinic Coordinator Dr James Zulu said the main aim of the Men’s Clinic Initiative was to improve health-seeking behaviours among men and to intensify case finding, particularly for HIV services in males above 15 years.

CIDRZ has supported the Men’s Clinic Initiative since 2018, when the clinics were piloted in six facilities in Lusaka district with male service providers recruited. They provided services in a dedicated male-specific consultation room within the outpatient department where all men were fast-tracked to access services. These pilot clinics proved successful and inspired more clinics to be established within the Lusaka district, resulting in an increased average number of men aged 25-49 accessing health services.

Dr Zulu noted that the Men’s Clinic Initiative provided a safe space for men to interact with peers on sexual reproductive health issues and enabled them to access integrated health services while improving their health-seeking behaviours.

The HIV case finding was intensified through index testing as men were more receptive to providing information on their sexual contacts in this environment than in the general clinic.
CIDRZ, through the LPHO, has continued to scale up the Men’s Clinics in Lusaka province.

Source : Newswires