Local mHealth platform developer, Mobenzi, has started working with Epicentre, one of the leading providers of Employee Wellness Programmes in the country, on several DREAMS projects in South Africa.

DREAMS (Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored, and Safe women) is a partnership that aims to reduce HIV infections among adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) in 10 sub-Saharan African countries that accounted for the majority of all the new HIV infections in AGYW globally in 2015. The countries are Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

With support from the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the Bill & Melinda Gates FoundationGirl Effect,  Johnson & JohnsonGilead Sciences, and ViiV Healthcare, DREAMS uses evidence-based approaches to address the drivers that directly and indirectly increase girls’ HIV risk, including poverty, gender inequality, sexual violence and a lack of education.

DREAMS programmes have recently been launched in the uMgungundlovu and eThekwini districts in KwaZulu-Natal and Ekurhuleni and the City of Johannesburg districts in Gauteng. The programmes aim to reduce HIV incidence in AGYW over two years, and provide support to get an education; grow up healthy; live a life free from violence; obtain meaningful employment; and ensure the same for their future families.

As part of the programmes, about 18,500 randomly selected AGYW between the ages of 12-24 years old will take part in a household based study.  Fieldworkers will use the Mobenzi mHealth platform to locate households assigned to them and complete household profile information.

Consenting household members are listed and links between household members, caregivers and adolescents are established electronically.

All females meeting the study’s age criteria are asked to provide digital consent via the Mobenzi app and research data are collected via the Mobenzi Researcher plugin.

According to Mobenzi, lab samples collected during the adolescent survey are sent to the lab, with results merged back into the system digitally. The Mobenzi backend allows data managers to assign and reassign households to fieldworkers; to view and edit lab results received; and to get a near real-time overview of data collected in the field.

The impact of the programme will be evaluated over time among a household-based representative sample of AGYW.

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