Mbeya, Tanzania – The Walter Reed Program-Tanzania (WRP-T) recently participated in the agricultural trade fair celebrating the “Nane Nane” public holiday recognizing the contributions of farmers. WRP-T's ’s exhibition at the fair highlighted WRP-T's HIV program interventions, the DREAMS initiative for adolescent girls and young women, and even offered COVID-19 vaccinations on site.
WRP-T's community initiatives are implemented by MHRP at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and HJF Medical Research International (HJFMRI) with funding from the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
Apart from showcasing the impact and milestones of the HIV services, WRP-T also provided Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC) at the fair using a mobile clinic van. A total of 175 people accessed the VMMC services on-site.
A number of those who showed up for VMMC services commended WRP-T for the initiative and suggested the need for the mobile van service to be scaled up to remote places with heavy demand.
In addition to the VMMC, WRP-T also provided COVID-19 vaccinations to ensure the public had equitable access to protection against the virus. In just six days, a total of 1,717 people adults were vaccinated during the exhibition.
One client thanked WRP-T for the service, saying, “I planned to be vaccinated while in Dar es Salaam but I couldn’t get enough time due to my busy schedule.”
On his arrival at the HJFMRI-T vaccination pavilion, the client was counseled by the clinical officer on the importance of vaccines.
“Now I’m protected from Covid-19, I’m encouraging my friends and all who have yet to be vaccinated to disregard the misleading information that the vaccine has negative effects. Let’s be vaccinated as per the advice by health professionals,” he said.
The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccinations were funded from the American Rescue Plan through PEPFAR with support from MHRP and HJFMRI.
WRP-T has been carrying out the COVID-19 vaccination campaign in the Mbeya, Songwe, Katavi and Rukwa regions using different approaches with the goal of reaching nearly 3 million adults.
This story was written by Owen Mwandumbya and Alice Mdoe of Walter Reed Project - Tanzania.