Councellors' Experience During Training and Home Based HIV Councelling and Testing in Zomba District, Malawi
In 2007, St Luke’s Mission Hospital initiated a district-wide Door to Door HIV counselling and testing (HCT) programme in Zomba district. The intent of the programme was to provide quality HCT services to people in their homes and effectively those found to be HIV positive referred to appropriate services.
This was a cross sectional study using a questionnaire consecutively administered to a sample of 105 counsellors who had resided in the community for a period of over one year. The questionnaire sought to establish, knowledge gained, experiences and recommendations on how the programme has been implemented and assist running of similar future programmes. Data analysis was done manually using both qualitative and quantitative methodologies.
We report that nearly 23% of the counsellors thought that during their training as a door to door HTC councelor they had benefited in learning to working with communities; an aspect they found to be highly applicable in discharge of their duties. The major setbacks during the training were lack daily allowances, less amount of time spent on understanding child councelling and the manual used was diffucult to follow. Over 32% of the councellors were satisfied with the participation of their clients during pre-test counselling sessions, however, the major challenge they had was the misconception that they were blood suckers, a view reported by nearly 17% of the counsellors. Close to 72% reported not to have met any problems during post-test counselling compared to 24% who reported to have found challenges.
The study has revealed that there is a need to re-look child children
counselling especially in training door to door HCT counsellors. It has also revealed the prevalent allowance culture despite the benefits of training. The common challenges were refusal of test results and failure to understand discordance. Misconceptions may still exist in the community regarding anything dealing with removing blood. There is still need for more information regarding discordance especially among couples in the community.