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Friends in Global Health (FGH)
Health Development and HIV Care and Treatment Services
Friends in Global Health (FGH) is an affiliate organization of Vanderbilt University currently operating in rural Mozambique. Working in partnership with local government and civil sector organizations, FGH aims to implement health development programs using sustainable strategies with the long-term goal of improving community well-being.
In collaboration with the Mozambican Ministry of Health, FGH has provided HIV-related care to over 44,000 individuals, approximately 18,500 of whom have initiated antiretroviral therapy. The organization provides technical assistance to support the Ministry of Health in the implementation of adult and pediatric HIV/AIDS care and treatment, prevention of mother-to-child transmission, counseling and testing services, tuberculosis program services and HIV-exposed child services in 10 rural districts within Zambézia Province. This support is provided through the Avante Zambézia project, which is a 5-year program funded through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) via the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). FGH has been a PEPFAR implementing partner, supporting HIV care and treatment services in Zambézia province, since 2006.
Additional funding support includes US Agency for International Development (USAID) funding focused on a consortium grant in which FGH is a partner serving as the Monitoring and Evaluation lead; CDC funding to support positive prevention, in which FGH is a partner, and internal Vanderbilt University funding to support collaboration between traditional healers and health facilities as well as to support small income generation projects.
Friends in Global Health focuses specifically on rural areas where limited human resources, poor health care coverage, lack of opportunities, weak infrastructure for economic development and vulnerability to food insecurity provide many additional challenges for program implementation. By employing an integrated and holistic health system strengthening approach, FGH organizes activities around two core principles: 1) directing technical assistance to government health facilities to implement integrated HIV clinical services at the provincial/state level, and 2) developing human capacity.
From 2009 – 2013, Friends in Global Health supported the Federal Ministry of Health of Nigeria in the implementation of HIV-related services in Federal Capital Territory, Niger and Kwara States. Through its 5-year funding award from the CDC/PEPFAR, the following services were provided in FGH supported sites: Adult and Pediatric HIV care and treatment, Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT), HIV Testing and Counseling (HTC), Tuberculosis and HIV (TB-HIV), Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC), procurement and provision of antiretroviral drugs (ARVs), strengthening of laboratory infrastructure and improvement of strategic information (SI) services. During the project period, FGH provided support for these services in eight comprehensive sites located in Gawu Babangida Rural Hospital; Lafiagi General Hospital; Sobi Specialist Hospital; Umaru Musa Yar’adua Memorial Hospital Sabon Wuse; Comprehensive Health Centre, Agwara; Shehu Shagari General Hospital, Nasko; Auna Rural Hospital; and State House Medical Centre, Abuja FCT. . FGH also supported an additional 98 satellite sites, which provided counseling and testing services as well as PMTCT services…
FGH conducted minor alterations and renovations in most clinical sites, including repairing water supply systems, installing power generating sets, equipping clinic laboratories and furnishing HIV clinics. Project activities also included local human capacity-building whereby over 1,500 Nigerian physicians, nurses, counselors and allied health staff were trained in HIV counseling and testing, basic care and support, adult/ pediatric care and treatment, adherence, prevention of mother to child transmission, home-based care and laboratory management. Provision of quality HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment services were at the forefront of FGH’s work in Nigeria. Throughout the project period FGH staff counseled and tested a total of 171,316 clients, 8,577 adults and children received at least one service of HIV care and 5,034 adults and children were enrolled onto HIV antiretroviral treatment.
FGH also established family-centered, facility- and community-based services targeting orphans and vulnerable children in Kwara state through partnership with a local community-based organization, the Society for Youth Development and Orphaned Children (SYDOC). This alliance highlights the priority FGH attaches to cultivating strong collaborative relationships with local groups involved with development work, as such partnerships enhance the capacity of local organizations to build sustainable, high-impact public health initiatives.
At the end of the project’s fifth and final year, VU/FGH was able to transition a substantial portion of its resources to a newly registered local indigenous implementing partner, Friends for Global Health Initiative in Nigeria (FGHiN). This process enabled successful capacitation of the local entity partner, which is now implementing its own 5-year CDC/PEPFAR funded care and treatment program in Nigeria.