Re-Engage Children and Adolescents with HIV (REACH) Programme
On 1 April 2015, PATA and One to One Children’s Fund launched Project Re-Engage Adolescents and Children with HIV (REACH), a new programme model which engages adolescents living with HIV (ALHIV) and young people living with HIV (YPLHIV) age 18 – 24 years, as peer supporters to improve the quality of services for their paediatric and adolescent peers in five priority countries: Cameron, Ethiopia, Malawi, DRC and Uganda.
Emerging field reports and case examples reflect the important peer support role that ALHIV and YPLHIV may play as adherence and retention counsellors and play supervisors for their younger and age-matched HIV-infected peers. ALHIV and YPLHIV have often cared for ill older relatives, may be caregivers of HIV-exposed and/ or -infected children and are themselves a vulnerable population due to increased risk of challenges such as stigma and discrimination, poverty and limited employment or career prospects. Their voice is seldom heard within a healthcare context. HIV-infected adolescent and youth clinic-community health workers may serve as positive role models for younger children and adolescents as they have great appreciation for age-appropriate concerns and fears. They have first-hand knowledge and experience of the challenges younger children and adolescent face in accessing healthcare, and could play an effective liaison role between the healthcare system and HIV-infected paediatric and adolescent populations.
Project REACH develops, incubates, investigates and shares a peer support community health worker model that may become a new promising practice in the field of engaging PLHIV to expand the paediatric HIV work force. The programme will demonstrate an innovative model of harnessing the lived expertise of ALHIV and YPLHIV as community health workers within a clinic and community setting, in order to improve access to quality paediatric HIV care while providing these ALHIV and YPLHIV themselves with skills and opportunities to secure training and improve their own health and wellbeing. Focusing on engaging young peer supporters as catalysts for effective engagement between younger patients and the clinic, ALHIV and YPLHIV will deliver child- and adolescent- focussed activities and services that will improve the overall quality of services for paediatric and adolescent patients in care.
Overarching programmatic goals:
1. To improve access to quality paediatric and adolescent HIV prevention, treatment and care services
2. To recruit and provide opportunities for training and career development for ALHIV and YPLHIV
3. To investigate, demonstrate and advocate for a peer support community health worker model as a new promising practice to expand the paediatric HIV work force
Please contact Arsene Ngombe for further information on the programme: email@example.com
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