The Walter Reed Program-Nigeria (WRP-N) has completed the pilot phase of a PEPFAR-funded initiative to conduct community-led monitoring of HIV services across 10 states in Nigeria.
Community-led monitoring (CLM) focuses on gathering honest feedback from recipients of HIV services by other community members who are themselves living with HIV. Feedback is collected in a systematic way intended to translate into actionable improvements. WRP-N gathered more than 30 civil society organization representatives and leaders to develop data collection tools, receive training on data collection methodologies and implement the pilot initiative.
“What is unique about community-led monitoring is the trust that exists between the beneficiaries and the people we send out to interact with them,” said Dr. Murphy Akpu, Deputy PEPFAR Country Coordinator in Nigeria. “Beneficiaries do not want to offend staff providing the services by critiquing them, so community-led monitoring allows them to speak freely and provide honest feedback.”
Community health workers visited more than 200 sites offering PEPFAR-supported HIV prevention, care and treatment services during the pilot program. The civil society organization representatives conducted more than 350 focus groups and administered more than 4,450 questionnaires to collect feedback. Service clients were able to discuss their perceptions of the services, including challenges to access and service preferences.
“This innovation is very unique because it shifts our community members from a point of vulnerability and weakness to one of strength, power and knowledge,” said Acapel Mbanusi, a community health worker and key population activist who participated in the monitoring initiative. "Most of the clients I had the opportunity to interact with expressed their joy and really felt so special to be able to express their experiences accessing HIV services.”