HIV Community Members have played significant role in the HIV prevention, care, treatment and retention of those on treatment for decades. Their significant contributions have mainly been in the form of providing emotional support, companionships and mentoring to community members to accept their statuses, take medication correctly and remain on care. They also track/trace their colleagues who miss appointments or become defaulters as a result of several factors. The contribution of Models of Hope remain critical in the achievement of the Global 95-95-95 targets.
To this effect, HFFG, a Sub-recipient (SR) of the Global Funds New Funding Model 3 for the Community System Strengthening (CSS) Programme, conducted a 3-day residential training for 270 selected Models of Hope drawn from nine regions across the country.
The training took place in August 2021. The training was facilitated by representatives of National AIDS Control Programme and the Regional HIV Coordinators.
Recruitment of Models:
Prior to the training, HFFG engaged the Regional HIV Coordinators and their team, health facility heads/medical superintendents, midwives, data managers, ART nurses and District Health Directors towards recruitment of Cadres to support HIV component of the Community System Strengthening (CSS) intervention.
The selection of Models of Hope was guided by the developed Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for Community Cadres designed for the Global Fund Community System Strengthening program in Ghana for all PLHIV populations. Each health facility received a copy of the SOP to ensure uniformity in the cadre selection for the program.
Significance of the training:
The training provided a common understanding of the intervention for each Model of Hope and promote uniformity in the work of Models across the regions. The training served as a platform for learning and sharing among old and newly selected Models of Hope. The training also provided adequate and accurate information about HIV Care and Treatment including Human Rights related issues, roles and responsibilities of Models in achieving 95-95-95 targets,
- Increased uptake of services by clients – Peer-to-peer support offered by Models of Hope serve as strong basis for clients taking up care and treatment services as well as ensuring their peers remain on treatment services. Activities of Models of Hope further help to improve ART adherence, reduce risk of virological failure, and better viral suppression with peer-support.
- Support for disclosure and acceptance – Models of Hope due to their openness of their serostatus facilitate discussions on the benefits of disclosure and acceptance of one’s status. This promotes positive living, general well-being and the quality of life of PLHIVs.
- Complimenting healthcare services offered at Health facilities – Services provided to clients by their peers (Models of Hope) compliment the bio-medical services that paramedics and clinicians render. Models of Hope provide assistance in daily management, psychosocial and emotional support, linkages to clinical care and community resources as well as providing ongoing support related to other chronic diseases and services.