AIDS Sensitive Approaches to HSS
The WHO’s definition of a health system and health systems strengthening (HSS) relates primarily to the development of national public health systems. The essential role that civil society and communities play in mobilizing people to access health services, providing health services to marginalized and difficult to reach populations in the absence of, or in partnership with, government services, and in particular the role they play in providing care and support to community members has become evident in the field of HIV.
However, this role is not widely recognised and supported by policy makers. Over the last 3 years, Stop AIDS Alliance has started to more actively contribute to policy debates highlighting the need to invest in health systems strengthening as well as community systems strengthening (CSS) in order to achieve universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support and to meet the other health-related MDGs.
Through its participation in Action for Global Health, Stop AIDS Alliance has been playing a key role in highlighting the synergies between HIV and the other health-related MDGs, particularly those related to maternal and child health, and the contribution that communities make to building stronger health systems. However, as more resources for health systems strengthening will be channeled directly through recipient country governments in the coming years, Stop AIDS Alliance aims to play a critical role ensuring that the role of communities in providing equitable access to essential health services is supported in the implementation of the EU global health strategy and the U.S Global Health Initiative as well as in new aid coordination mechanisms such as the Joint Health Systems Strengthening Funding Platform. In addition, Stop AIDS Alliance will continue to advocate for linking HIV and sexual and reproductive health (including maternal, newborn and child health) to respond more effectively to individuals’ broader health needs.