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As'bangene campaign speaks to young people in their language

As'bangene campaign speaks to young people in their language

The Aurum Institute’s AS’BANGENE movement has been ‘doing the most’ since its launch in March, using engaging campaigns to reach young people to encourage and support them to make healthy lifestyle choices.

Dr Nokwethemba Mtshali, Managing Director for Health Systems Division (HSD), said the movement contributes to the overall HSD goals of increased testing numbers in young people. “It promotes young people to engage in preventative measures and provides support for those diagnosed with HIV, through different messaging, peer support groups and other forms of support groups to ensure they get to their appointments, take their medication and visit their local clinics for any other health related issues,” she said. “The community in Ekurhuleni is excited and has been receptive to the campaign and we can only watch it grow from strength to strength,” said Mtshali.

Whatsapp Squads

The movement has established Whatsapp Squads, using the messaging app as a cost-effective way to help young people access health services. It also provides instant information on HIV and STI infections and raises awareness to end stigma. Adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown, 13 Whatsapp Squads were created as a virtual platform for the vibrant A'BANGENE campaigns to be delivered directly to youth in Ekurhuleni. 

“As’bangene is a fresh, vibey campaign which aims to reach young people where they are – and that’s on social media. We cannot afford to ignore social media or give young people dull messages that don’t speak to them. Social media has the potential for young people to connect, express, learn, engage, and act with the simple push of a button,” said Kanya Ndaki, Aurum Communications Director.

Live shows

AS’BANGENE also has weekly slots on four radio stations, as well as talk shows screened live on Facebook with dynamic hosts and expert guests from Aurum and partner organisations. A different topic is tackled every week, linked to the AS’BANGENE goals like PrEP, HIV and TB and other contemporary issues such as Gender Based Violence, COVID-19 and blessers. The shows reach a wider audience and are interactive, giving young people an opportunity to have their specific questions answered. This helps establish a connection for further engagement and encouragement to get tested, get on treatment or take up other services at a clinics and partners.

A regular speaker on the shows is Aurum Training Manager, Zuzile Khumalo. She said the reception has been overwhelming. “The team participating on the shows has been met with excitement and lots of questions from listeners.  This confirms to us that the community needs this information. The radio shows are great and very interesting and going forward, as a team, we will ensure topics being discussed remain engaging to the community and speak to their challenges,” said Khumalo.

Sibusiso Nkabinde from Tembisa, is just one of the young people who has benefited from this engagement. He no longer has to queue for his medication after getting in touch with the AS’BANGENE team got him registered for pick up at the chronic medication locker, the PeleBox.  “When I went to collect my medication from the Pelebox for the first time, it was exciting to use this new technology.  I am now looking forward to going on the following months,” he said.

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