In an issue focusing on the role of communities and civil society in the advancement of developing countries, Abdelfadil and Fakoya outline the impact that communities have had on the HIV/AIDS response.
They argue that communities have taken an increasingly proactive role, not only in planning and policy formulation, but most critically in delivering health services. The article provides case studies from Alliance work in Zambia (ACER – WHO Antiretroviral Community Education and Referral), Uganda (Network Support Agents) and Cambodia (KHANA's work with communities to increase access to HIV and TB services).
The article concludes: ‘Communities are coming together to advocate and improve their own access to health services and increasingly organizing to plan and deliver effective healthcare on a large scale. The community health system will never replace or match the national delivery of health but it can and does make a considerable contribution acting synergistically to improve access for marginalized groups, maintaining contact and referral to health services and ultimately creating a highly effective network of health interventions and community health systems.’