The NSP and your community

The NSP and your community
Photo Courtesy of the Treatment Action Campaign Archive


The new structure of SANAC places much greater focus on the links between district, provincial and national AIDS councils. The idea is that this tiered structure can work as a two-way street — right from your community to the national AIDS council.
In some districts there are no district AIDS councils — and many of those that have been formed are dysfunctional. In order to make the two-way street envisaged in the NSP work, we have to make sure that we have active district AIDS councils where we live. This is important, because active AIDS councils give us a way in which to become a real part of the response to HIV and TB in our communities.
We have a right to a place at the table — it is up to us to claim that place and use it responsibly.

10 Steps to establish an active Local AIDS Council

These ten steps will assist health activists to get district AIDS councils up and running.

  • Ask for a meeting with your mayor and local city or town council. Ask the council to call a public meeting on HIV & TB.
  • Find out about your city or town’s budget for HIV &TB. Ask whether there is a line item for HIV and TB in the municipal budget.
  • Seek out facts about HIV &TB in your area. For example, where is the highest number of infections, and, are condoms freely available?
  • Meet with health workers. It is important to understand the problems that they face and to get them to play a leading role in local responses to problems in the health system
  • Ask “Who are our allies?” It is important to build bridges with health workers, other activists, NGOs, and other allies and then to work with them effectively.
  • Determine your objectives and start to campaign. Try to link your objectives to the NSP and to your Provincial Strategic Plan.
  • Develop a local action plan. Such an action plan could include: Community mobilisation for HIV testing, HIV prevention campaigns at schools, campaigns against stigma and discrimination (especially against key populations such as sex workers and migrants), and monitoring the quality of health services.
  • Build support for this local action plan with your allies.
  • Present your local action plan to the Local AIDS Council (LAC) or District AIDS Council (DAC). Before you do this, it is important to calculate what it would cost to implement your local action plan. It is also important to work out what human resources would be needed to make the plan a success.
  • Ensure accurate reporting of your work to your Provincial AIDS Council. This will help the Council to recognise your good work and will make them aware of problems that must be solved at a higher level.