Website: AMREF - Better Health for Africa
For five years Positive Action has supported the African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF), the Network for the Empowerment of People Living with HIV and AIDS in Kenya (NEPHAK) and the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) to develop new ways to link communities to their HIV treatment services in Kenya.
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The Zingatia Maisha project (a Swahili translation of "Positive Action" that literally means "Carefully consider life") helps the medical establishment and communities affected by AIDS to work together creating a new model for the Greater and Meaningful Involvement of People Living with HIV/AIDS (GIPA) that achieves better HIV services and improved adherence to treatment.
Through the project, community-based support groups have helped HIV treatment centres to develop referral tools, deliver HIV awareness and treatment education and improved care. Thirty-eight sites across Kenya have established the project’s unique Health Facility/Community Linkage Committees or HCLCs, working with 190 PLHIV support groups. The HCLCs provided a forum for clinicians and other health workers to interact with representatives of the PLHIV support groups, share and address concerns or grievances, identify specific challenges and devise responses from all parties.
The project also ensured all sites attained an appropriate level of infrastructure and technical capacity, funding minor but significant improvements to buildings and equipment and training in areas such as ART adherence support, stigma reduction, stress management and trauma awareness. Meanwhile community support groups were developed in the fields of psychosocial support, treatment literacy, referral, defaulter tracing and treatment adherence support along with organisational needs including leadership, documentation and reporting, and book keeping.
Patients now have a better understanding of their treatment and the need to take their antiretroviral medicines exactly as prescribed, while doctors, nurses and hospital administrators have been able to encourage better clinic attendance through simple changes to services. Project evaluation demonstrates consistently higher performance at clinics within the project as well as better adherence among their patients. Some aspects of the model are already being adopted in other Kenyan clinics; the operational research report may be viewed here.
To read more about our other Positive Action projects from the voices of the people on the ground click here.