In the face of a global health crisis, frontline health providers, implementing partners, and funders around the world have spent most of 2020 in reaction mode: shifting and recalibrating their programmes and processes to ensure that the most vulnerable among us continue to receive the vital sexual reproductive health (SRH) and HIV treatment and the care they need. In April 2020, as part of its COVID Action Plan, PATA launched the Emergency Response Fund (ERF) to support local efforts and clinic-community collaboration in improving preparedness for addressing COVID-19 related setbacks in PATA focal countries with small, short-term grants.
Committed to clinic-community joint activities and supported by cohorts of peer supporters, 38 ERF grant partners used the small grants to do the essential work of continuing to provide health services for children and adolescents and young people living with HIV (AYPLHIV). Services supported included SRH services and preparing communities to manage COVID-19 in lockdown conditions. Most prominent activities included providing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to frontline health providers and delivering antiretrovirals (ARVs) directly to communities. A closer look at this work reveals how community-centred partnerships are particularly well positioned to provide uninterrupted HIV treatment, care, and support services that are effective and meaningful, not just in a crisis, but for improving the quality of care for vulnerable communities year-round.
In a series of seven case studies, PATA explores some of the key learnings from partners as they used their ERF grants to devise creative solutions, enhance partnerships, increase connection to communities, and elevate the role of adolescents and young people, as providers of essential care. Their work shows us that a little truly can go a long way.