Sunday, June 04, 2006

Measuring Impact

Aside from climbing mountains and getting malaria, our week up in Manica and Sofala provinces saw us begin the first major activity of our HIV/AIDS pilot project with our four participating Mozambican microfinance operators. This week we were working with Banco Oportunidade to carry out an impact study on the HIV/AIDS training that they were offering their clients and staff. The purpose of this study is to determine the level of HIV/AIDS knowledge among the subjects both before and after the training sessions that are being carried out until the end of July. In addition to measuring the level of knowledge, we were also interested in determining whether the training sessions would have any impact on the social and sexual behaviour of the clients and staff.

Cremildo and I designed the survey quantitative survey instrument which was a big change for us as up to this point we had been doing primary qualitative research, asking mostly personal opinion questions of the staff and clients that we encountered. We also wisely chose to hire two local enumerators who worked for the National Institute of Statistics to help us with the interviews. This was great because, as I had already experienced in Nampula and Gaza province, some of the clients only spoke a limited Portuguese and thus had the option to converse in the local language.

We spent three days in Manica province interviewing staff at the main branch in Chimoio as well as making excursions out to the surrounding towns along the Beira corridor such as Gondola, Inchope and Nhamatanda. Some of the interview questions covered basic knowledge issues such as:

  • Can you name three methods by which HIV/AIDS can be transmitted?
  • Can you describe some of the visible symptoms of HIV/AIDS infection?
  • Do you know where one can go to receive a voluntary HIV/AIDS test?
  • Once a person becomes infected with HIV/AIDS, what actions can they take to maintain a good standard of health?

Even with the years of HIV/AIDS prevention work that has been done in this region it was quite interesting to see the difficulty some of the clients had with answering of these basic questions whose answers we don’t even think twice about in the West.

We also ventured into the awkward territory of asking some pretty direct questions related to sexual behaviour and to my surprise we did not have a single respondent refuse to answer questions such as:

· Do you use condoms during sexual intercourse (always, most of the time, sometimes, never).

· How many sexual partners do you currently have?

· Have you ever been for a voluntary HIV/AIDS test?

We felt that these questions were essential to measuring any positive impact of the training sessions. However, changing behaviour is unfortunately much easier said than done, as countless frustrated HIV/AIDS activists can attest to in this part of the world. It is simply shocking to me how in the face of such a ghastly pandemic sweeping across their country, many African men can still live lives of infidelity, reject the use of condoms and refrain from getting the all important test to determine their status. Still knowledge is the greatest tool in the fight against ignorance and the tide seems to be turning in the right direction. The next generation of Mozambicans are depending on this all important realization.


Blogger Elise said...

you can offer someone the tools, but you cant save everyone.


mostly i feel sorry for the children.


world championship coming, protugal-angola next sunday! my mother in law supports angola, she lived there for many years until 1974.

10:15 a.m.  
Blogger jpmozambique said...

you are so right Elise and yes the children are the ones that are unfortunately born into this tragedy.

As for Angola, as much as I love cheering for the colonial underdog from Africa...I think they are going ot get trounced by portugual 3-0.

1:28 a.m.  
Blogger Elise said...

portugal won't be that great on the world cup. in fact, i think iran will at least tie with us,


oh well.

9:39 a.m.  

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