THE National Aids Council (NAC) donated 22 bicycles to 10 Brotha2Brotha mentors and 12 Community Adolescent Treatment Supporters (CATS) in Hwange district as part of efforts to enable effective coverage.
Presenting the bicycles to beneficiaries recently, Hwange District Development Coordinator (DDC) Mr Simon Muleya said the donation was part of efforts by NAC to support communities involved in HIV/Aids intervention programmes.
“The bicycles will go a long way in addressing transport challenges being faced by community carers. We are informed that the Sister2Sister mentors and Behavioural Change Mentors (BCM) already have these bicycles. We are therefore challenging all the beneficiaries to take care of these bicycles,” said Mr Muleya.
According to the District Aids Coordinator (DAC), Mr Nehemiah Ndlovu, the bicycles are meant to capacitate community volunteers to carry out their work effectively.
“Our community cadres travel long distances to provide services to communities hence the decision to give them these bicycles. NAC is also going to buy cellphones and provide them airtime as part of its programme to provide the volunteers with tools for the job,” said Mr Ndlovu.
There are more than 200 volunteers working with NAC, including 60 BCM who empower men through sessions.
Ten Sister2Sister mentors work with adolescent girls and young women while 10 Brotha2Brotha mentors target adolescent boys and men.
Twelve CATS provide support to adolescents living with HIV to ensure treatment adherence as well as provide counselling.
Mr Albert Ndlovu, a Brotha2Brotha mentor from Mabale, said the donation will help them effectively cover their areas of operations.
“The bicycles donation is a big relief that will go a long way in enabling us to carry out our work. Some areas were hard to reach because of the long distances involved,” he said.
Mr Brilliant Mano, who is stationed at Chinotimba Clinic in Victoria Falls, said it was difficult to reach distant places such as the Monde area on foot.
“As CATS, we were facing serious challenges in accessing some areas under our coverage such as Monde. The bicycles donation has therefore addressed this
challenge and we are now able to make follow ups on adolescents that are on ART to ensure they are not defaulting,” he said.