Djibouti: Women-run Mobile Brigades Fight HIV and COVID-19 Together

11 February 2022

In Djibouti, people living with HIV often face stigma and discrimination. These barriers can prevent people – particularly women – from getting the treatment and testing services that they need.

To help ensure access to services, the Global Fund is working in partnership with UNDP and UNAIDS to support mobile brigades – teams of medical staff who bring HIV testing and prevention services to communities through mobile clinics. Many of the doctors and health care workers on the mobile teams are women, which means that women in the community often feel more comfortable in seeking testing and treatment. The mobile teams also decrease the time it takes to travel to a clinic and eliminate the stigma that may be associated with visiting a particular health center.

When COVID-19 hit, the mobile teams were able to quickly adapt to help fight the global pandemic. The teams offered COVID-19 testing and helped maintain HIV services.

Patients leave the mobile clinic in Djibouti City after consultation and HIV testing.
Copyright: UNDP Djibouti/Margot H. Quinty

Decades of experience in fighting HIV, TB and malaria prepared many low- and middle-income countries in the Global Fund partnership to quickly respond to COVID-19, using the same laboratories, disease surveillance, community networks and trained health workers that were already in place to fight HIV, TB and malaria. Like in Djibouti, building on existing infrastructure has proved to be the speediest and surest way to fight COVID-19 and prepare for future pandemics.