Tebelopele

Background

Being the largest VCT provider in Botswana Tebelopele was established in 2000 through a partnership between Botswana Government and the United States Government (Botswana USA Partnership – BOTUSA) to provide HIV Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) through a network of Voluntary and Counselling Centres to expand and increase access to testing.

In realising the critical need for one to know their HIV status and the link to accessing care, support and treatment, Tebelopele has over the years expanded its network to 18 centres providing VCT services to about 100,000 clients annually; thus contributing towards a comprehensive HIV prevention, treatment, care and support in Botswana.In 2004, Tebelopele transitioned to become a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) to harness resources and to make a critical difference in HIV/AIDS prevention by intensifying the coverage, scale and intensity of VCT services. In addition to its 18 centres , Tebelopele provides outreach and mobile services to communities including the hard to reach and underserved populations through campaigns to ensure that as many people as possible know their status and have access to the much VCT services.

In 2007, Tebelopele started offering both anonymous and confidential counselling and testing. Initially services were offered on anonymous basis due to stigma issues. The intensified education efforts by the country and the need to link clients who had tested to treatment, care and support, Tebelopele therefore introduced the passport to life, a card that allowed the client to have his/ her results written on the card and the clients having consented to the use of their identity.In the same year, the Academy for Educational Development began supporting Tebelopele to transfer its data collection from paper based to electronic based through the use of Palm Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) to improve data quality and timeliness. An initial pilot in two testing sites was conducted in March-May 2007. The PDA allows for data collection at fixed sites as well as in mobile and outreach events. Counsellors and supervisors in two centres were provided with PDAs and trained to use a form designed with Pendragon Forms software. Skip patterns and data cleaning means were included on the form to eliminate errors and reduce the need for data cleaning during analysis. Tebelopele boast of high data quality, efficiency and timeliness across all its centers. There have been fewer data errors and more timely has facilitated making better use of data for service implementation.

Tebelopele VCT (Botswana) and Liverpool Voluntary Counselling Testing Care and Treatment (Kenya) got into a partnership made possible by funding from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and managed by the American International Health Alliance(AIHA) which immensely benefitted the Ministry of Health. The main goal of the partnership was to strengthen the capacity of Tebelopele in providing quality HIV related intervention programs and position it as hub of key intervention programming, targeting key populations. The key objective was to strengthen the scaling up of quality VCT services by Tebelopele in Botswana.

Tebelopele, owing to its experience in the fight against HIV more especially in HIV Counselling and Testing, established a training institute to train aspiring Batswana on HIV/ AIDS programs. The training institute also created a platform for the sustainability of Tebelopele beyond Donor funding. Tebelopele stands on the cusps of a second wave in the evolution of trainings for HIV services. The direction is towards emphasis on greater and expanded qualifications including modular targeted trainings.

The aim of Tebelopele is to ensure that as many people as possible know their status and have access to the needed services. Through VCT plus, Tebelopele offers comprehensive referral linkages to prevention, treatment and care services such as ARV treatment, Prevention to Mother to Child Transmission, cervical cancer screening, TB screening, Safe Male Circumcision to provide holistic care.