Peer Support Groups

One strategy HAI embraces to build community-to-clinic linkages is through peer support groups—a cost-effective, evidence-based practice that has been shown to improve health behaviors and attitudes across the health care spectrum.

Many HAI programs support clinic-based or health system-run peer support groups to extend the reach of the public health system and to strengthen the link between health providers and the communities they serve.

In Timor-Leste, where child malnutrition affects >50% of children under 5, HAI established Mother and Family Support Groups to promote healthy nutrition practices across two municipalities in Timor-Leste.  HAI worked closely with the Ministry of Health and municipal health teams to establish the groups and train, and mentor group leaders. 

In Côte d’Ivoire, HAI supports local organizations like Bouaké Eveil, a non-profit started by health activists from the local HIV-positive community, to organize support groups for HIV-affected individuals and families.  For over a decade, these support groups have played a critical role in building resilience within this community and linking them to both clinical and social support services.

HAI-LIGHTS

“When I come to the Friday [support group] meetings they give me advice until I find my strength, my courage.”

— 26 year-old Ivoirienne, HIV Support Group participant, previously non-adherent to treatment after giving birth

“I know that I am not alone. [Support groups] encourage me to come back.

— 30 year-old Ivoirienne, HIV Support Group participant, previously lost to follow-up for one year, now active on ART.

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Funding

[2015-2020] Project LINKS: Implementation of Programs for the Prevention Care and Treatment of HIV/AIDS in Côte d’Ivoire under PEPFAR.

This project receives funding support from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

[2017-2017] Establishing and mentoring Mother Support Groups to promote Key Home and Family practices for Nutrition, Maternal, Newborn and Child Health and Primary Health Care in Sucos of Aileu and Viqueque Municipality.

This project received funding support from UNICEF the United Nations Children’s Fund.

[2009-2015] Rapid Scale up for HIV Care and Treatment Services in Northeastern Côte d’Ivoire.

This project received funding support from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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