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About TAC's Community Health Advocacy Programme

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Programme Goals and Objectives

TAC’s Community Health Advocacy Programme aims to strengthen community health advocacy and leadership in order to:

  • improve access to and uptake of health services
  • realize health and gender rights;
  • improve community knowledge and literacy on health rights and policy;
  • develop leadership capacity among women and people living with HIV/AIDS to advocate for their rights and to realize the right to access to comprehensive health and social services with a particular focus on HIV treatment and prevention services.

The Community Health Advocacy Programme achieves this by –

  • training a cadre of community health advocates, and providing community health advocacy training to people living with HIV/AIDS;

  • monitoring and improving access to services (grants and health services) at community level, including working with partners to improve monitoring and evaluation systems at district level and acting on information gathered by prevention and treatment literacy practitioners; and
  • advocating for the rights of women and communities affected by gender-based violence to access appropriate resources for health care and prevention of HIV, and to demonstrate the impact of this in model districts.

Background

In view of the continuing challenges facing the ability of public health system to respond to the TB epidemic and increasing HIV/AIDS & TB morbidity and mortality TAC has identified the need for a community health advocacy programme. Amongst these challenges are shortfalls in health care funding and financing, shortages of human resources for health, logistical constraints, management limitations, and inequities between public and private health care. Close monitoring, responsive action and strong advocacy are necessary to address these challenges. The community health advocacy programme is strengthened by the women’s rights sector and the people living with HIV/AIDS sector.

Core Activities of the Programme

The core activities of the Community Health Advocacy Programme will include training and enabling community health advocates (CHAs) to –

  • build provincial, district and branch structures, including: assisting with situation analysis; providing induction of and support to provincial and district councils and branches; and support with planning and strategy development;
  • lead in the organizing and running of campaigns, develop advocacy strategies, and represent TAC on clinic & hospital committees, ward forums and district and provincial councils;
  • develop and run leadership development programmes within TAC to ensure a second tier of leadership and a renewal process;
  • support the development and use of monitoring and evaluation tools for both TAC projects and for the National Strategic Plan at local level.

Structure of the Programme

TAC’s CHA programme is coordinated from our National Office in Cape Town however the majority of CHA campaigns and activities are run at a grass-roots community level in provinces and districts. At a provincial level, two Community Health Advocacy Trainers (CHATs) are based at each of TAC’s six provincial offices. CHATs are responsible for facilitating campaigns and advocacy training for TAC staff and members; local HIV adherence clubs and support groups as well as communities and partner organizations in their respective provinces. At a district level TAC employs seven Community Health Advocates (CHAs) who are tasked with supporting specific communities and TAC branches in organizing public-health education and advocacy campaigns. CHAs also participate in local health and social forums such as district and local AIDS councils and clinic committees. CHAs are furthermore responsible for monitoring and reporting on access to HIV and TB related health and social referral services in their respective districts.