No one person or organization on their own can address all the treatment needs of people living with HIV/AIDS. Working with others can help to improve access to new and existing treatments and resources. It can also improve the quality of the treatment that is provided and help in reaching more people.
Examples of the complementary roles of different types of organizations include the following:
• Communities and solidarity groups can provide personal support for people living with HIV/AIDS and keep others in touch with treatment needs.
• NGOs/CBOs can provide people, training, information, ideas, material support and skills (such as in counselling) for treatment work.
• Government systems can provide policies, leadership, human resources and material support (such as skilled health workers, drugs and medical supplies) for treatment work;
• Businesses can provide financial or 'in kind' sponsorship for treatment work, and encourage public support.
• Professional associations and academic institutions can contribute knowledge and guidance on treatment, as well as contributing research and generating new knowledge that may be helpful in improving treatment.
• Donors can provide funds for treatment work and facilitate learning from the experiences of other countries.
• Religious organizations can provide volunteers for treatment work, mobilize community support and help to reduce discrimination.
• Media can provide accurate information about treatment issues, help to raise awareness and reduce stigma.
Participatory group activity
To identify those with whom an NGO/CBO can work to improve access to HIV/AIDS-related treatment in their community.
1. Explain the aim of the activity.
2. Divide participants so that they are working with colleagues from their own NGO/CBO.
3. Ask participants to write the name of their NGO/CBO in a circle in the centre of a piece of flipchart paper.
4. Ask participants to brainstorm about what people and organizations their NGO/CBO could work with to improve access to HIV/AIDS-related treatment in their community.
5. Ask participants to write the names of each of the people and organizations in a circle around their NGO/CBO. Ask them to draw a line connecting each one to their NGO/CBO.
6. Bring everybody back together and ask the groups to share their results. Encourage the participants to ask each other questions and to make comments.
7. Facilitate a group discussion about what has been learned from the activity, based upon questions such as:
• What practical support and resources can each person or organization bring to work on access to treatment?
• Which people or organizations are already involved in work on access to treatment?
• What are they doing? What next steps should the NGO/CBO take to form a partnership with the people and organizations that they have identified?
• Encourage participants to think broadly and creatively about who they can work with to improve access to HIV/AIDS-related treatment. For example, help them to think beyond medical professionals and also to consider groups such as religious organizations and businesses.
• Remind participants that, for drug-related treatment work to be effective, their NGOs/CBOs will also need to form partnerships with groups involved in other areas of treatment work, such as counselling and nutritional support.
At a skills-building workshop, a participating NGO called Thandizani identified organizations with which it could build partnerships to improve access to HIV/AIDS-related treatment in its community.
Afterwards, the facilitator led a group discussion about what had been learned from the activity. For example, participants agreed that working in partnership can not only increase the quantity of work on access to HIV/AIDS-related treatment, but also improve the quality, because it allows groups to share their lessons and ideas.
Reference: Adapted from a workshop on access to HIV-related treatment, Catholic Dioceses of Ndola and the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, Zambia, April, 2001.