In October 2012, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) began the Community Health Agents Programme (CHAP), consisting of 33 lay workers delivering door-to-door HIV Counselling and Testing in rural and peri-urban areas. By 2015, there were over 80 Community Health Agents (aka CHAPS) and services expanded to include screening for tuberculosis and sexually transmitted infections, health promotion, pregnancy testing, defaulter tracing, referral to health facilities, MMC recruitment, and condom distribution.
Results of HIV testing are recorded in a mobile app and sent to a central database. In 2015, MSF tested 56 183 people for HIV, with 1 682 new infections diagnosed; 11 914 people were screened for TB in the last three months of 2015 alone.
In this video we see how Babongile Luhlongwane, a Health Agent working in the Entumeni and Mbongolwane districts near Eshowe, wakes up every weekday morning to travel long distances, often by foot, to deliver HIV Counselling and Testing to people who seldom make it to distant public health facilities for medical checkups.
MSF’s Dr Vivian Cox explains the value of the CHAPS programme, and Babongile explains how people value the service she’s providing.