The Network of HIV Positives in Sierra Leone (NETHIPS) through the National AIDS Secretariat (NAS) with support from United Nation Development Programe (UNDP), has commenced a three days training for Community Led-Monitors from the 31st August- 2nd September 2021 at the Sia Nyama Vocational Center, Grafton in Freetown.
Welcoming all present on behalf of the organization, the Agric and Livelihood Officer for NETHIPS, Aiah Umar Konoboy underscored the importance of the training. He stated that the training is designed to generate evidence on HIV service uptake in selected health facilities in Bo and Bombali District headquarter towns. He added that the data that will be collected will be analysed and informed NETHIPS on key Advocacy issues that demands urgent actions. He noted that the overall outcome of the process will inform NEHTIPS and partners for on the type of services Recipient of Care are getting during their usual routine visits to the health facilities.
Explaining the Community Led-Monitory concept, the Programe Manager of NETHIPS Martine Phillip Ellie, said Community-led monitoring (CLM) is a technique initiated and implemented by local community-based organizations and other civil society groups, networks of key populations (KP), people living with HIV (PLHIV), and other affected groups that gathers quantitative and qualitative data about HIV services. He stated that the focus is on getting feedbacks from recipients of HIV services in a routine and systematic manner that will translate into action and change.
He said the principle of the Community-led and community-owned focus on action and accountability, independent, collaboration routine and systematic and results showed. He described community-led organizations as an organizations and other civil society groups, networks of key populations (KP), people living with HIV (PLHIV) and other affected groups that gathers quantitative and qualitative data about HIV services.
He noted that CLM helps to diagnose persistence problems/challenges/ barriers related to HIV service uptake and retention at community and facility level. Mr Ellie continue that the process improves service delivery and client outcomes by identifying data driven solutions that overcome barriers and ensure beneficiaries(PLHIVs) access and receive optimal clients centered HIV services. The intervention also identify service related needs and deficits from the affected communities and also analyze and interpret the information (data) collected to suggest solutions and key action points which in turn help to inform specific advocacy issues.
In his contribution, the Empower Project Officer Brima Sorie Kanu pointed out that they will be dealing with both private and public health facilities, Community-based service delivery facilities and/or community service points (e.g. community ARV groups) are areas of focus for the data collected. He said the target beneficiaries includes People Living with HIV, young people, pregnant women and Key population which includes Men Having Sex with Men, Female Sex Workers and People who use drugs.