The technical advisory committee to the Erongo Regional AIDS Coordinating Committee in Swakopmund held a consultative meeting with the Teens Club for Adolescents Living with HIV to establish the effectiveness of the club and offer support to its initiatives.
The committee’s liaison officer, Kleria Autanga, said the purpose of the visit is to “find out how you are doing and how we can assist the club in going forward.”
The committee also held a consultative meeting with young women in Swakopmund to address issues of unemployment, gender-based violence, and changing toxic cultural norms in the community.
Autanga encourages more engagement in the club, and more frequent contact with health facilitators.
Speaking to this publication, Ndapandula Simon (not real name) said the teen club hosts various activities and addresses different topics relating to HIV/AIDS regularly.
“Some of the challenges the club faces are discrimination from the community and low turn-up due to school activities, since most of the members go to school,” she said.
The club has about 60 members; however, only 30 members attend the meetings on average.
Health practitioner Pamela Heigan, who is the facilitator of the teen club, which often meets at Tamariskia clinic in Swakopmund, said adherence to medication and follow-up is highly commendable among the members.
“The festive season is approaching, and some of the members are due to go on holiday.
There should be no fear of running out of medication because members get enough medication for the holidays; follow-ups are planned according to the school holiday calendar,” she added.
As part of the Regional Operational Plan on HIV/AIDS response, the committee is set to ensure the establishment and functionality of teen clubs throughout the region under the supervision of district hospitals.
The committee, consisting of representatives from Erongo Regional Council, Ministry of Health and Social Services, Regain Trust, Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture, and the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, has so far visited Walvis Bay and Swakopmund – and is yet to conduct visits to Omaruru and Karibib.
*Names are withheld to protect the identity of underage persons.
*Rauna Kalola is an information officer for the MICT in Erongo region.