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Apr 06
HSTi upskills Driver Mobilisers to provide HIV testing services in uThukela

By: Lunga Memela (Communications Engagement Lead)

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Tshitshi Ngubo (Technical Advisor - Capacity Building) engaging the Driver Mobilisers during the training

Many communities in developing countries still have limited access to healthcare services, and this includes access to HIV testing services (HTS) – a critical component of the global Sustainable Development Goals and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) mandate of ending AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.

The World Health Organization says HTS include the full range of services that should be provided together with HIV testing. These include: counselling (pre-test information and post-test counselling); linkage to appropriate HIV prevention, treatment and care services, and other clinical and support services; and coordination with laboratory services to support quality assurance and the delivery of correct results. 

Understanding critical need to identify people living with HIV who do not know their status, the Health Systems Training Institute (HSTi) which is training arm of the Health Systems Trust (HST), offers a popular HIV Counselling and Rapid Testing course on an ongoing basis, tailored accordingly for professional nurses, for non-professionals, or as work-based learning. The course is about HIV counselling and rapid testing to equip trainees with the knowledge and skills to perform HIV counselling and rapid testing confidently, accurately and reliably in a safe and professional manner, and to provide HTS effectively.

The latest cohort to complete the course was a team of HST's Driver Mobilisers from KwaZulu-Natal's uThukela District who seized the opportunity advance their careers by learning how to offer HST to local community members. They attended and successfully completed the training offered to them in uThukela in March 2022. 

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Learning in action: (left) Tshitshi Ngubo and (right) Mantombi Nkosi coaching Driver Mobilisers on how to offer HIV testing services.  


"The programme offers a standardised approach to integrating HIV counselling and testing in both facility and community based settings," said HSTi's Cassius Semaushu. "It is quite pleasing to witness the increasing scope of work undertaken by organisations such as HST, supporting the Department of Health especially in communities that may have less access to HIV care and treatment, yet are highly exposed to HIV infection," he added.

Semaushu said HST Driver Mobilisers who are mapping out their careers have shown interest in being trained as HIV Counsellors. Those trained have now transitioned into HTS Community Testers. "This will also increase capacity of HIV Testers to render HIV Testing Services at a District Level."


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