Community Engagement and Mobilization
In our efforts to eliminate pediatric AIDS, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) supports innovative models of community involvement to meet the needs of women, children, and families affected by HIV. Through these activities, EGPAF aims to support social mobilization and promote health seeking behaviors; strengthen community health structures; enhance the psychosocial well-being of people living with HIV and their families; increase uptake of and retention in HIV prevention, care, and treatment services; and increase uptake of and retention in maternal, newborn, and child health (MNCH) services.
Social Mobilization and Promotion of Health-Seeking Behaviors
EGPAF employs a variety of targeted interventions to mobilize communities, including Community Health Days, which offer mobile services for HIV; MNCH; and primary health. Community Health Days also feature educational activities and dialogues to encourage uptake of HIV and MNCH services, provide linkages to other health services, and reduce HIV stigma and discrimination. Through dialogues, communities are empowered to collectively address social and cultural barriers that limit uptake of HIV prevention and treatment services.
Strengthened Community Health Structures
EGPAF promotes and supports utilization of community health workers, who offer linkages between health facilities and the wider community. EGPAF works to build the capacity of these staff and volunteers—through training and ongoing mentorships—to provide HIV-related services at the community level. These counselors provide HIV education, counseling, and testing. They also support partner disclosure, treatment adherence, and retention in HIV services. Community health workers are trained to track HIV and tuberculosis clients who have been lost to follow-up, to link them back into care and treatment.
EGPAF builds the capacity of community leaders to identify and address health concerns. EGPAF also develops community health committees to strengthen client feedback loops and improve collaboration between communities and health facilities. In addition, EGPAF builds the management, technical, and leadership capacity of local organizations that work to improve community-level health services.
Expanded Psychosocial Support
EGPAF strives to ensure that HIV-positive clients have access to both medical and psychological services, helping local facilities and organizations integrate psychosocial support interventions, such as support groups, within clinical and community-based programs. EGPAF promotes the development of support groups for families—as well as for specialized groups for adults, HIV-positive pregnant women, children, and adolescents. We have developed play centers and child development facilities to provide psychosocial support for HIV-positive children, HIV-exposed children, and orphaned and vulnerable children.
EGPAF assesses community-based program and intervention effectiveness through operations research and impact evaluations so that successful models can be scaled up and replicated. For example, under Project ACCLAIM in Uganda, Zimbabwe, and Swaziland, EGPAF is assessing outcomes of three community-based interventions—engagement of community leaders, implementation of community health days, and creation of community peer groups—to determine their effectiveness in increasing community demand for, uptake of, and retention in maternal, newborn, and child health (MNCH) and prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) services.