On June 1st, an impactful dissemination meeting was held in Harare, marking the culmination of the CHIEDZA and STICH trials. The CHIEDZA trial, which spanned three provinces in Zimbabwe (Harare, Bulawayo, and Mashonaland East), employed a cluster randomized approach to investigate the effects of a community-based integrated HIV and sexual reproductive health (SRH) services program, including menstrual health management. Embedded within CHIEDZA, the STICH trial focused on measuring the uptake and effectiveness of screening for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and comprehensive case management, including partner notification.
The event commenced with a captivating welcome speech delivered by Group Captain Dr. M. Dobbie, representing the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MOHCC). Dr. Dobbie emphasized the urgent need to address the SRH requirements of adolescents in the face of alarmingly high rates of HIV and STI infections among this demographic in Zimbabwe. The meeting was skilfully chaired and facilitated by Dr. Tsitsi Apollo from the MOHCC and Dr. Francis Ndowa from the Skin & Genito-Urinary Medicine Clinic.
During the dissemination meeting, the CHIEDZA investigation team presented their comprehensive findings to a diverse audience of stakeholders from government and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) who had either played a role in trial implementation or were actively engaged in adolescent health, SRH, and HIV research. The presentations included insightful information from both trials, covering a range of topics such as adolescent uptake of HIV and SRH services, STI testing rates, menstrual health management, and family planning for adolescents. Additionally, the team shared results from both trials, including process evaluation and public engagement initiatives.
The dissemination meeting featured two engaging panel discussions. The first focused on the experiences of CHIEDZA/STICH providers and participants, providing valuable perspectives on the trials' implementation and impact. The second panel discussion centred around the theme "Moving Evidence to Programmes: What do we need?" and featured esteemed panellists including Dr. Tsitsi Apollo (MOHCC), Mr. Stephano Gudukeya from Population Solutions for Health (PSH), and Mr. Farai Machinga from the Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council (ZNFPC).
Considered a resounding success, the dissemination meeting effectively engaged stakeholders and provided a platform for dialogue on the trials' findings. It stimulated discussions on how to enhance HIV and SRH interventions and develop relevant policies to address the specific SRH needs of adolescents. The event concluded with a collective commitment to continue advancing adolescent health in Zimbabwe through evidence-based interventions and collaborative partnerships.