Lighthouse’s “Ndife Amodzi” program is a community-led project that provides ongoing educational, treatment adherence and psychosocial support to stable ART clients in Lilongwe City. “Ndife Amodzi” means “we are all one” in Chichewa, the local language in Malawi, and highlights the central concept of the program: a community working together to support persons living with HIV (PLHIV) with greater involvement of PLHIV in providing this support. This support is provided by volunteers within each community, under the guidance of Lighthouse Community Care Supporters. Unlike traditional Home Based Care (HBC) models, Ndife Amodzi Programme focuses on psychosocial, rather than medical support, provided by community based volunteers with minimal training.
Lighthouse collaborates with local Community Based Organizations (CBOs) to accomplish this program. Enrolment is facilitated by community volunteers that have desks in the waiting areas of Lighthouse clinics and three health centres located in the city; Kawale, Area 18 and Area 25. These volunteers sensitize patients to the program and complete the necessary referral paperwork after clients themselves choose a volunteer from their community using a binder with a list of volunteers, along with their pictures, categorized by neighborhoods.
‘Since the program started in November 2005, 11485 clients have been enrolled in Ndife Amodzi as of March 2016. By March 2016, 73% of the enrolled clients were active in the program and 96% of them were on ART.’
Meaningful Involvement of people living with HIV as Expert patients
Lighthouse through its Community Health Services program has established 17 support groups of people living with HIV (PLHIV). Some of the members are volunteers from the CBOs. Lighthouse has trained such PLHIV as expert patients and involves them in conducting group education sessions in the community as well as at Lighthouse clinics since 2011 to promote ART adherence and prevention of opportunistic infections among PLHIV.
This approach is providing a human face to the pandemic, thereby promoting acceptance of one’s HIV+ sero-status, treatment adherence, disclosure and reduction the work load of already overwhelmed professional staff.
Linkage of Community Health Services program and Back-to-Care (B2C)
One of Lighthouse’s most innovative programs, the Back-To-Care (B2C) program, is aimed at reducing lost to follow-up (LTFU) in the ART. Community Care Supporters who are the community facilitators of the Community Health Services program strengthen the B2C program by following up clients that are presumed LTFU from the ART program at the two Lighthouse clinics.