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Permanent Secretary of Western Province Launches Mulambwa DREAMS Centre.

Source: Ciheb Zambia resources.

Permananet Secretary of Western Province giving a speech during the Inauguration of the Mulambwa DREAMS Center.

Ciheb Zambia proudly introduced the Permanent Secretary of Zambia Western Province Mongu Danny Bukali and other dignitaries to the new Mulambwa DREAMS center in Western Province during its inauguration on December 1, 2020. The center is one of six such centers that the DREAMS initiative that Ciheb Zambia is implementing together with the Zambia Ministry of Health and other partners under the ongoing Z-CHECK and CIRKUITS programs.

During the visit, DREAMS Site Coordinator Christine Bwale Shimbi described the services offered at the Mulambwa DREAMS Center to the visitors. The six centers will deliver a comprehensive package of core interventions to reduce HIV vulnerabilities.

Staff training and other activities at the centres began in October and the official openings occurred on December 1 and 17. Across the six centres, Ciheb expects to reach approximately 30,000 adolescent girls and young women.

The facilities are located in the communities of Liyoyelo, Mulambwa, Monze, Manungu, Kaleya, and Nakambala. The sites were selected in collaboration with the district and provincial health offices based on HIV incidence and the number of school dropouts and teen pregnancies.

For the past three years, the CIRKUITS and Z-CHECK programs have focused on HIV case finding using index-testing and social-network testing modalities, targeting key and priority populations. "CIRKUITS was looking at HIV testing and taking care of key populations," explained Ciheb Zambia's DREAMS Site Coordinator Priscilla Makasa. "We discovered most of the new cases we were getting for HIV were adolescents in the 10-24 age group."

Safe Spaces for Girls

There will be approximately 145 mentors at each facility provided by the YWCA who, along with ECR, is a partner on the project. The mentors will counsel approximately 60 adolescents each. Ciheb Zambia's "site connectors" oversee the mentors and provide them with guidance.

"These DREAMS centres are places where AGYW can come and open up and relate with their mentors," said Ciheb Zambia's Deputy Chief of Party Linah Kampilimba Mwango. "They are safe spaces for the girls."

The centres feature an economic strengthening room to host skills-building training that will teach girls how to bake, make reusable sanitary pads, organize money saving groups, and other activities. A clinical service delivery room will be used for biomedical interventions, including HIV testing, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), linkage to treatment, family planning, and condom promotion and distribution.

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