Cyber-VCT Pilot Program
Country of Operation
- Organic Health Response (OHR)Not-for-profit
Target income level
- Bottom 20%
SummaryThe Cyber-VCT Pilot program encourages utilization of HIV testing services by providing access to solar-powered Internet as cover and incentive for participation in the Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT) Program.
Extensive ethnographic fieldwork and needs assessments have identified that intense local enthusiasm for the Internet can provide a meaningful incentive and a valid excuse for residents to overcome the stigma and scrutiny commonly associated with stand-alone VCT centers in rural Kenyan communities.
Key program components
The pilot project seeks to use internet access to encourage VCT uptake, streamline treatment referral to UCSF-KEMRI Family AIDS Care and Education Services (FACES) clinics, facilitate psycho-social support, and improve health literacy for remote communities across Lake Victoria. The project is operating in the remote Island of Mfangano, specifically targeting the rural poor who cannot access VCT services on the mainland. The community-owned center serves as the only internet facility and library on the island, and is an invaluable educational workshop facility for students, teachers, health workers, farmers, fisherman and other interested community members. The Cyber-VCT program serves as the access point to enroll participants into the Micro-Clinic Island Network for People Living with HIV/AIDS. OHR’s Ekialo Kiona Center has been carefully designed to function as the world's first Cyber-VCT Facility. This “cyber” center is free for use by all club members, predicated solely on bi-annual membership renewal through individualized sessions with a certified VCT counselor. In July 2011, the EK Center installed 10 new Inveneo computers and updated EK's solar power system to support a total of 17 low-power computers. Long range radios will transmit a wireless Internet signal - 50km along a direct line-of-sight - from a transmitting tower to Kisumu, Kenya to a receiving tower at the top of Mfangano Island.