Posted by Justin on January 25, 2018

THE Planned Parenthood Association of Zambia (PPAZ) Choma branch in Southern Province has earned itself a reputation of being one of the best providers of adolescent friendly health services through an irresistible participatory learning tool known as Join-In-Circuit (JIC).

The positive impact of the JIC tool was reflected in a preliminary report by the American Institute of Research (AIR) through a survey conducted on 25 intervention and control schools last year sponsored by GIZ. The report was shared to key stakeholders like the Ministries of General Education and Health in November, 2017.

JIC is designed to make learning fun and participatory by the target audience of adolescents and other young people in Shampande and surrounding areas within Choma District on HIV protection, ways of transmission, contraceptives, Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) condom use and body language.

The JIC method is based on a question and answer approach determined by facilitators throwing lots with subject themes and participants voluntarily picking questions corresponding to each theme which they are supposed to answer failure to which they pass the task to the next person. 

Where there are inadequacies, myths and misconceptions in answers given by participants, the facilitators who are trained peer educators step in to make clarifications for the benefit of all learners. Apart from offering the JIC at the PPAZ Clinic, the JIC tool is administered to primary and secondary schools, community and places of work.

From August to October 2017, the JIC tool was administered on 25 schools involving Grade six pupils at primary school level and Grade 11 pupils at secondary school excluding examination classes of grades 7 and 12. Apart from the 25 schools, the JIC tool was also administered on Southern Water and Sewerage Company (SWASCO) employees.

The JIC impact was evaluated through a questionnaire to pupils in participating schools to determine the change in their knowledge levels before and after being exposed to the tool. A similar questionnaire was administered to non-participating schools (control) in two phases. The results showed that knowledge levels on all the key themes of the JIC tool increased in participating schools while that of the control schools remained relatively lower even where Comprehensive Sexuality Education was taught.

A National HIV/AIDS/STI/TB Council (NAC) team visited PPAZ Clinic in Choma on Wednesday last week and witnessed the performance of a JIC.

JIC Coordinator Owen Mudenda informed NAC that  this year, PPAZ intended to extend the tool to markets and clinics targeting pregnant clients while other entities were still free to access the tool upon payment of facilitator’s fees of K100 per person and meeting the JIC members’ fuel costs.

The JIC tool is owned by Afya Mzuri which has granted PPAZ the right to use it through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) while concentrating on issues of quality assurance, monitoring and evaluation.

Apart from the JIC tool, PPAZ Clinic in Shampande offers the following services; family planning, HIV counselling and testing, cervical cancer screening, breast cancer screening and youth friendly services.

Prepared by NAC Communications Unit