PEPFAR and partners strengthen community-led monitoring of HIV services

The Mozambican Civil Society Platform for Health (PLASOC-M) and the Joint United Nations Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS) in partnership with the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the National AIDS Council(CNCS) and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, organized a workshop in Maputo that was held from June 15 to June 17, in Maputo, with the objective of increasing knowledge on principles and steps of community-led monitoring (CLM), harmonizing the program implementation guide in Mozambique, defining eligibility criteria, as well as outlining a plan and timeline for program implementation.

The three-day event brought together various HIV response stakeholders and comprehensively addressed the advances and challenges of MLC, which is a program that essentially aims to involve the community so that it has an active voice in the response to HIV, identifying barriers to access to services, and advocating for their solution.

On the occasion, PEPFAR National Coordinator, Jacquelyn Sesonga, praised the relevance of the meeting for the country.

“The MLC is of immense value to the country and will very effectively allow us to see what people on HIV treatment need to access services. They also need to have the security and comfort that they have the support of civil society in their communities,” said the PEPFAR representative in Mozambique.

In turn, the representative of PLASOC – M, Gilda Jossias, thanked PEPFAR for its leadership in engaging civil society in the response to HIV in the country.

“We thank PEPFAR that has always tried to involve civil society in this battle so that we can start implementing the CLM and all the support it has given,” said Gilda Jossias.

“We are starting to bear fruit. Civil society is not going to have any more setbacks in this process. We want to go forward and I think the workshop was decisive to continue aligning, after all, we have the greatest interest in this process,” she added.

The workshop had the merit of reaching some key consensus among the response actors, including the clear definition of CLM and implementation stakeholders, the definition of performance indicators, clarification on the data collection systems and methodology, necessary adjustments to the tools to make them responsive to the indicators, review of the eligibility criteria to improve the participation of community-based organizations, as well as the timeline of activities to be developed.

Community-Led Monitoring is an accountability mechanism for the national HIV response, led and implemented by local community-led organizations of People Living with HIV (PLHIV), key population networks (KPs), other affected groups, or other community entities. It is a process initiated, led, and implemented by these groups that gathers quantitative data and qualitative data on HIV services, develops and advocates for solutions to gaps identified during data collection.

Community-Led Monitoring is important to PEPFAR because it helps PEPFAR programs and health facilities diagnose and identify persistent problems, challenges, and barriers related to HIV service adherence and retention at the community and facility levels. CLM aims to improve service delivery and patient outcomes by identifying data-driven solutions that overcome barriers and ensure that beneficiaries access and receive optimized patient-centered HIV services.