Community health worker showing a client Boost

What is Boost in Zimbabwe?

Building on Avert’s existing Boost platform, Boost in Zimbabwe aims to increase the number of young people (aged 10-24) accessing HIV, sexual health, family planning, Female Genital Schistosomiasis (FGS) and mental health services in four provinces in Zimbabwe - reaching over 250,000 young people by April 2024.

The project is a partnership between Avert and national Zimbabwean HIV organisation OPHID. It will develop new content, including content in Shona and Ndebele, and screening tools that have been locally validated and endorsed by the Ministry of Health and Child Care.

Using Boost to guide them, a specialised cadre of community health workers called Community Outreach Agents (COAs) will carry out screening and referrals among young people to increase their uptake of essential health services. Until now COAs have lacked a tool to help them provide information and advice, screening and referrals in a single client interaction.

Why is it being developed?

Data from Zimbabwe show very poor rates of HIV diagnosis among children and young people, which means this group is a priority for HIV services.

Young people face a range of often interrelated conditions where they need more knowledge, skills, support and sometimes referral for treatment. Along with HIV and STIs these include contraception, mental health, and FGS.

Recognising community health workers’ often very limited training, the Ministry of Health and Child Care is keen to support COAs continued learning and development, and recognises the value of digital information.

Boost is already a convenient way for community health workers to access up-to-date, reliable and accessible information on HIV, sexual health and related issues. With new content and screening tools supporting COAs’ interaction with young people, Boost will address the knowledge-gaps of young Zimbabweans and improve their uptake of sexual health services.

How will it make a difference?

Boost in Zimbabwe is aiming to:

  • improve COAs’ knowledge, skills and confidence on HIV, sexual health, family planning, FGS and mental health
  • provide COAs improved screening and referral tools and processes to support young people’s access to HIV, sexual health, family planning, FGS and mental health services
  • improve young people’s capability, knowledge of, and demand for HIV, sexual health, family planning, FGS and mental health services

The project will roll out Boost to 650 COAs (Community Outreach Agents) and reach 250,000 young people. The long-term aim is that Boost will be scaled up across Zimbabwe, with the support of the Ministry of Health and Child Care.