Field Notes: Supporting an AIDS–free Future in Mozambique
Michelle Betton is EGPAF’s Associate Communications Officer based in Washington, D.C. Last month, Michelle traveled to EGPAF sites throughout Mozambique. Stay tuned for more stories from Michelle and other EGPAF team members.
It is not often that our communications staff gets to leave our Washington, D.C. office and travel to the field. But, every now and then, the occasion arises when we are able to see firsthand the great work that our colleagues do every day to help keep mothers, babies, and families healthy and HIV-free. For a couple of weeks in November and December, I had the privilege to visit EGPAF’s program in Mozambique.
The Mozambique team is implementing several promising programs that could help make great strides toward eliminating pediatric HIV.
Adherence support groups, called grupos de apoio e adesao communitarios (GAAC) in Portuguese, are comprised of local HIV-positive community members, and provide a way for people who normally feel isolated by the virus to have a community to belong to in full disclosure. Moreover, the groups keep members accountable for taking their medication regularly, ensuring that all members remain healthy. The group members were warm and open about how being part of the groups has changed their lives for the better and given them hope for their futures.
Clinics and hospitals gain much needed support from EGPAF’s performance-based financing (PBF) program, in which health facilities receive extra funding based on the number of clients they serve in a month and the quality of those services.
In addition to providing opportunities for current staff, EGPAF-Mozambique is paving the way for the next generation of health care workers through its fellowship program. Working with Universidade Eduardo Mondlane, EGPAF recruited 13 fellows to integrate into their programs.
Each time I visit the field and see the work that our colleagues engage in every day, I am humbled by how much they accomplish in working toward elimination of pediatric HIV. The work our colleagues do on the frontline is keeping families and communities healthy and thriving. With continued strides like those made in Mozambique, an AIDS-free generation is certainly within reach. Stay tuned to our website for more details on GAAC, PBF, and Mozambique’s fellowship program.
Michelle Betton is EGPAF’s Associate Communications Officer, based in Washington, D.C.