Providing the youth with information regarding their sexuality
The Peer Project (TPP) (formerly Maridi Health Science Peer Project) is a youth initiative by students from Maridi School of Nursing and Midwifery and from the National Health Training Institute. TPP focuses on providing young people with information about sexual and reproductive health. The project has gained ground in Maridi since its inception in 2014, where HIV prevalence rates were rising.
A learning session in Maridi
Action Africa Help International’s (AAH-I) regional primary health care project in Maridi has been working in partnership with TPP to build staff capacity and to support their campaigns and initiatives. Through this partnership, community mobilization has been enhanced in Maridi, with special attention to HIV testing and counselling among the youth with an overall goal to reduce viral load readings to undetectable levels. To date, over 685 youths have been tested and counselled for HIV, and close to 24,000 community members reached with messages on HIV/AIDs through radio programmes and outreaches. Patients who test positive are enrolled at the antiretroviral treatment centres in the AAH-I-supported Maridi State Hospital.
“TPP is a model set to provide the youth with information regarding their sexuality to enable them make informed decisions. TPP membership is vast with a growing network of peer educators all over South Sudan. Our partnership with the peer project has seen the establishment of seven straight talk clubs in various secondary schools in Maridi and subsequent training of 48 peer educators drawn from the schools, civil society organizations, community-based organizations and groups that support youth out of school,” says AAH-I’s Dr. Mustafa Ahmed, TPP Project Coordinator and Founder.
Youth attending a TPP session
TPP was part of the steering committee in the formation of the Network of Aids Services Organizations in South Sudan (NASOSS). The project has also participated in the development of the South Sudan Monitoring and Evaluation master plan for monitoring HIV/AIDs service provision. Peter Garang, a TPP student coordinator was nominated by NASOSS to represent South Sudan in the International Conference on AIDs and STIs in Africa from 4th to 9th December 2017 in Cote d’Ivoire.
The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has recognized TPP’s efforts in the fight against HIV/AIDs in South Sudan. Recently, UNAIDs donated shirts, caps, fliers and posters for the commemoration of the World Aids Day.
AAH-I reiterates its commitment to working with communities towards such high impact initiatives. Maridi School of Nursing and Midwifery is run by AAH-I, while the National Health Training Institute is run by AMREF.