The Global Micro-Clinic Project (GMCP) and the Organic Health Response (OHR), an indigenous organization on Mfangano Island in Lake Victoria, have launched a joint initiative to implement the world’s first micro-clinic program for people living with HIV/AIDS.
The GMCP utilizes the strength of informal social networks to build alternative social infrastructures for global health. “Micro-clinics” represent organic therapy management collectives of neighbors, relatives, and friends who come together to provide psychosocial, nutritional, and treatment adherence support for sick members of their group.
Each micro-clinic, consisting of 5-25 people, is activated through comprehensive educational workshops regarding specific disease management, business skills and income generation training, as well as micro-financing to implement broader community-based missions. The micro-clinic model represents a growing social network that promotes an empowering and integrated strategy for disease management and prevention. More importantly, GMCP's micro-clinic networks provide an alternative social foundation through which multilateral governmental and civil society partners can collaborate to implement sustainable health, business, education, and environmental protection infrastructures within a unified framework.
In order to lay the foundations for the micro-health networks, GMCP has been conducting research and needs assessments for over 2 years on Lake Victoria. The public health researchers, anthropologists and consultants have designed a replicable curriculum to empower rural MC networks with practical tools to address the social and biological determinants of HIV/AIDS.
In order to recruit and train people for 50 clinics, rather than reorganizing HIV+ patients into Western style “support groups”, GMCP teams have carefully identified established farming cooperatives, women’s self-help groups, youth groups, church groups, sports teams, local businesses, and many others in each village. With local HIV prevalence estimated at over 30%, each group ranging from 5-25 people includes both HIV+ and HIV- members. GMCP will activate its MC program through:
- Recruitment of an initial cohort of 50 micro-clinics (~500 people).
- Conduct 6-week training workshops at the Ekialo Kiona Center for each MC.
- Comprehensive Community Mobilization Program for 19,000 Mfangano
- Community Radio Programming for ~100,000 rural residents across Suba
Following initial 6-week training, all micro-clinics will sign a formal
incorporation agreement with OHR-GMCP establishing specific mission
statement, officers, and a bank account. Each micro-clinic will receive
additional business training, external business partnerships, and microfinancing to accomplish vital community initiatives.
These projects give purpose and solidarity to each micro-clinic and reduce
stigma by promoting HIV+ individuals as essential innovators and implementers. This MC framework thus incentivizes participation in HIV management,
builds capacity for local entrepreneurship and business ownership, and
provides sustainable services in an extremely impoverished economy.