Community and health systems strengthening

Momina has been helped with access to antiretroviral therapy and support from a volunteer care giver by the Organization of Social Services for AIDS (OSSA), the country’s largest NGO working on HIV issues. (c)Benjamin Chesterton\duckrabbit\International HIV/AIDS Alliance

If we are to reach global targets for universal access to HIV treatment, prevention, care and support, countries must have a strong health infrastructure which is able to reach all members of the population. A good health system delivers quality services to all people, when and where they need them. 

Unfortunately many countries have weak health systems which do not meet the needs of their citizens and many people do not have access to the services they are entitled to. To address this the Alliance is dedicated to health systems strengthening (HSS) in the countries that we work in.

Traditionally HSS has focused on developing national public health systems. However, it has become evident that community systems are equally important. Communities play an essential role in mobilising people to access health systems and in providing care and support, particularly in the context of HIV. Community organisations and systems have a unique ability to interact with affected communities to understand and respond quickly to their HIV and broader health needs.

Community systems do not exist in isolation; they complement and are linked with formal health systems.