A new partnership is helping to support vulnerable young women against health concerns and gender-based violence.

Shout-It-Now (Shout) a South African-based charity is working with Glasgow-based tech firm Simul8 to help maximise its resources to reach more vulnerable young women in South Africa.

Shout is an NPO (nonprofit organisation) providing HIV prevention, sexual and reproductive health, and gender-based violence support services to communities in South Africa.

Through the international partnership, Shout is using Simul8’s simulation software on a pro bono basis to explore ways to optimise its operations so that it can treat more patients with its fleet of mobile clinics.

South Africa has the largest population of people living with HIV in the world, with one in five people infected with the virus. To prevent HIV infections and support those who are living with HIV, Shout brings a range of free health services to hard-to-reach communities.

These include HIV testing, PrEP (also known as the HIV prevention pill), STI screening, contraception, gender-based violence prevention and counselling as well as educational life skills programmes.

Shout delivers its services via a range of mobile healthcare vehicles, staffed by nurses, social workers and specialist health advisors as well as a support team that travels to communities every day to deliver vital services where they are most needed.

William Taylor, head of operations at Shout, said: “Our mobile care and support facilities are designed to make our service private, comfortable, and welcoming, and all completely free. But this is also about so much more than just a medical testing and treatment programme.

“We very actively provide prevention services in the communities we visit, talking to both young women and men to promote healthy behaviours and healthy lifestyle choices, as well as normalise conversations around sex and relationships.

“Currently in South Africa there is so much stigma around these topics, but a lack of education has such a devastating effect on people’s lives with close to 200 young women becoming HIV positive each day, and eight reports of gender-based violence every hour.”

Taylor added: “Shout it Now is all about working with youth, families, schools, and community members to prevent such cruel outcomes. Of course, it’s a huge task with limited financial resources, so our approach is to combine global best practices with tech-driven innovations, so we can make a meaningful and measurable impact on HIV prevention in South Africa. This is where we came into partnership with Simul8.”

Shout said it has always ‘embraced technology’ to improve the quality and reach of its services. The organisation’s mobile clinics are equipped with diagnostic tools and communications tech, as well as a contact centre and app services.

Using Simul8, Shout said it can now plan the effective distribution of resources, including people, skills, equipment, and scheduling.

Laura Reid, CEO at Simul8, said: “We’re fortunate in the West where we have relatively generous resources to diagnose and treat people with HIV. When we heard about Shout it Now’s efforts to tackle this epidemic in South Africa, in communities that are far less fortunate, we felt a real responsibility to offer our support.

“Since Simul8’s technology has been developed for the very purpose of improving delivery mechanisms and overcoming logistical challenges, and with Shout it Now’s passion for seeking out innovative ways to improve the client experience, we have found it to be a great fit.

“We’re so happy that our technology is being used to make a difference to the young women accessing these essential services.”