Health systems alone cannot achieve the global prevention of-mother-to-child targets. The enormous, as yet largely untapped, potential of families and communities must be harnessed to bring demand for quality services to scale in supportive environments. In turn, families benefit from social protection mechanisms to help them cope with the challenges of AIDS and to remain enrolled in programs.
It is in communities, not in clinics, that stigma is reduced, women and their families receive support, demand is stimulated, policy is made and laws are upheld. Community systems and health systems must be aligned in order to reduce the impact of HIV/AIDS on children and families. Communities are highly effective at:
- Transmitting key messages, especially among hard-to-reach populations
- Influencing and supporting household norms and behavior
- Increasing access to services as go-betweens
- Providing stop-gap and complementary services
- Holding health services accountable
In addition, both social transfers and social services, which can be facilitated by community action, raise demand and adherence.
The Coalition for Children Affected by AIDS promotes ways that family and community strengthening and social protection can help achieve the PMTCT targets. Additional details and background on community action to support ending vertical transmission of HIV can be found here.