Areas of Work


WAAF works in many areas of health care. Although the main areas include HIV and AIDS care, there are many linked health concerns and social issues as well. You can view some of our past achievements here, as well as some of our current projects here.

Although set up many years ago to directly work on HIV matters, WAAF has over the years spread its work into addressing the numerous factors that directly affect HIV.

As with many other devastating epidemics in history, vulnerability to HIV has been increased by factors such as poverty, discrimination and social exclusion. Efforts to address HIV therefore go beyond the provision of direct services such as treatment. As such, WAAF has found itself over the years delving into other areas of work such as gender mainstreaming, economic empowerment, fighting stigma, universal health coverage and fighting co-morbidities such as Tuberculosis, Hepatitis B&C, Cervical Cancer as well as non-communicable diseases.

Ultimately, WAAF’s goal is to ensure healthy individuals with no one left behind, either in the nation of Ghana or the West African sub-region.

 

Preventative Medicine:

Preventative medicine has been at the core of WAAF efforts since its inception. Even though starting with HIV, with an onsite clinic catering to the general public on all health related matters, WAAF’s focus over the years has shifted to that of an all round preventive medicine focused one. Integrating services through its own programs as well as that in partnership with others, WAAF reaches out to many on health conditions such as HIV, TB, Malaria, Non communicable conditions – Hypertension, Diabetes, Obesity and many more. The clinic functions as a means of using treatment as a gateway to prevention where clients are educated as they come in for services.

 

Clinical Services:

WAAF is one of the few NGOs in Ghana privileged to have an onsite clinic. As such it enables WAAF provide the entire spectrum of health services ranging from prevention through treatment.  Opened to the general population, the clinic offers   general medical care but with its affiliation with the NGO, the clinic caters for those with infectious diseases such as HIV, TB, Hepatitis B &C, Malaria, Cervical Cancer and many more. Through its multidisciplinary approach to healthcare, WAAF provides access to wide variety of medical specialties for a full range of clinical services as well as primary care. Check our International Health Care Centre here.

 

Differentiated service delivery:

Having patients at the center of all our work, WAAF has continued to not only advocate for differentiated service delivery but as gone the extra mile to implement this. Simplifying and adapting HIV services across the cascade, to ensure this reflects the preferences and expectations of various groups living with HIV/TB, WAAF has continued to use its mobile clinic VAN to bring services closer to the communities. Additionally, WAAF continues to look for innovative ways to ensure the burden of clients in reaching services is minimized. An example is the use of apps by clients in reaching their service providers from the comfort of their communities.

 

Capacity Building:

The experience WAAF has gained during years of operation dictates that if civil society organizations (CSOs) in Ghana want to make any significant impact on the wellbeing of the citizens they claim to be representing or working for, then they must engage with the worlds of politics and public institutions.

CSOs must seek to help less powerful citizens have a voice in the social and political arena. Many groups have been identified as having clear needs but because they have such a significant lack in resources and political power, their needs are often not translated into demand. The role of civil society organizations is to make these groups visible so they are able to participate in the world of politics and influence public institutions to better serve their needs.

In operation since 1999 has allowed for enough experience building for WAAF to understand that those directly affected and infected are the main ones to put up the fight for change and for their rights. WAAF therefore appreciates the need for inclusion of communities affected by TB in the delivery of TB health care in Ghana and better still empowering them to take charge of their own affairs.

 

Project Management:

Having been in existence since 1999, WAAF has had the opportunity of working on numerous projects, some funded, others WAAF’s own initiative. Some projects have solely been implemented whilst others have been in partnership with other where WAAF was the lead and in others where WAAF was a sub recipient. Additionally through all of these, WAAF has had access to capacity building efforts from donors, co implementers and WAAF has also been able to pass on capacity to smaller partners as well as beneficiaries.

 

Research & Advocacy:

WAAF believes infusing research with patient experience will improve research. As such WAAF allows its facility to be used by many as a research site. Many PhD candidates, MPH candidates as well as other graduates and undergraduates have continued to do so. Additionally, WAAF uses its data to inform its programmatic interventions ensuring efficiency in the projects it implements. It also allows for facts that can be used for advocacy purposes.

 

Sharing of Lessons and Knowledge:

WAAF has always committed to ongoing dialogue and interactive forms of communication such as focus group discussions and interactive community meetings to act on findings and recommendations. WAAF also regularly employs other communication media such as key stakeholders consultations and debriefings as well as the use of various media outlets – social media, radio and shared databases, formal reports, summary discussions to disseminate information to other stakeholders such as district, regional and national level departments and agencies, external funders and international agencies to support future action.

 

 

Health (Prevention and Treatment)

WAAF is one of the few NGOs in Ghana with a fully equipped clinic and an experienced team of medical personnel. This makes WAAF unique since the organization is able to provide the entire spectrum of care ranging from prevention, to treatment, and continuum of care.

The organization continues to focus on health education, healthy sexual practices and lifestyle aimed at improving the overall wellbeing of clients. WAAF continues to offer educational programs on disease prevention, management and offers confidential HIV testing and counselling services for all regardless of race, colour, and sexual orientation.

To ensure retention on the care cascade, WAAF works via various ways. Through collaboration with key organizations and individuals, follow ups at the community level are put in place.

Through medical outreaches including the use of mobile VANs, services including treatment are brought to the doorsteps of people. Working with members of the community such as models of hopes and KP PEs, the trust is there and people are willing to come and remain in care.

Via the onsite clinic, WAAF offers treatment and management for a variety of medical conditions ranging from general medicine to infectious diseases including the provision of antiretroviral medicine. Visit our clinic website for more details.

 

Education/Prevention

Expressions like “Education is the key to success” and “If you think Education is expensive try Ignorance” stand at the forefront of WAAF’s efforts in Education and Prevention activities.

Educational programs for young people, in and out of school youth as well as adolescents serves as part of our risk-reduction incentives for vulnerable populations. It is essential for young people to be informed about the consequences of an active sexual lifestyle in order to make informed choices.

We started Passion Squad clubs which have and continue to reach out to other students through creative outlets like school club activities, video screenings, and drama pieces in addition to workshops we provide for them.

WAAF seizes any opportunity to provide education to the youth, by setting up tents and kiosks during durburs, football events and festivals to reach out to people with simple but very essential health information that can make a huge difference in their lives.

Areas we focus on are:HIV, TB, Malaria, STIs, Hygiene, Sanitation, Ebola, Bird flu and many more. WAAF also provides training for individuals to become peer educators who help us with providing training and spreading information to more members in various communities.

 

Nutrition

Nutrition forms an integral part of a healthy life. People living with HIV need good nutrition to ensure they can stay on ARVs and that children can grow up healthy without any developmental issues.

In collaboration with the Ghana Health Services, WAAF offers nutritional support such as fortified Tom Brown, Plumpy nut and other supplements to children and adults at risk of HIV and TB. Clients with low body mass indexes, in particular those under 18, automatically qualify to be enrolled onto nutritional support programs.

In addition, WAAF ensures all its PLHIV and TB clients including pregnant women are provided with multivitamin pills to ensure they get all of the daily needed values of vitamins and minerals.

WAAF has partnered with Vitamin Angels, who have donated Vitamin A for children as well as specific multi vitamins for pregnant and lactating mothers that has helped many women and children have better nutritional statuses.

Finally, WAAF has an in house program called “Healthy Mother equals Healthy Baby”. An initiative developed and supported by its ambassador Stella Lowe of Glad Star Ministries Inc, HM=HB ensures that identified vulnerable HIV pregnant women have access to monthly nutritional packages that support them in staying healthy so as to be able to deliver healthy babies.

 

Care and Support

Providing long term support and care for vulnerable people such as those living with HIV/AIDS, orphans who have been affected by HIV/AID, PLHIVs infected with TB and/or Hepatitis B or C forms an integral part of the work of WAAF. Examples of support services are:
1. The ALMOND TREE PROJECT
2. THE ORPHANS AND VULNERABLE CHILDREN (OVC) PROGRAM

 

Almond Tree Project

The Almond Tree project started in 2004 with a collective of HIV positive men and women who met under the Almond Tree at the WAAF premises to discuss issues and concerns pertaining to them. Soon, WAAF realized that people living with HIV/AIDS needed sustainable ways of supporting themselves financially aside the medical care they were receiving.

Eventually, this project was developed as a skills-based training program in crafts like beads making, batik/ tye-dye with assistance from the AIDS committee of London, Ontario, through Canadian Crossroads International. WAAF assisted the trainees through the marketing of the products they made either at the shop or as souvenirs to be sold abroad by interns who work or have worked at the clinic.

In partnership with ECLOF, WAAF has also provided start-up capital for some of these trainees. The Almond Tree shop houses most of these items like dresses, slippers, Shea butter, beads, and clothing made by the women and men.

The group has since grown to become income generating, ensuring not only the self-sufficiency for its members, but also providing an avenue for members of the group to receive support and be there for one another in many ways. Today the group has registered itself as a community based organization to enable it access funding to fund some of their own projects. Current membership is of about 30.

 

Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC)

Since children orphaned or made vulnerable by HIV can experience lives full of stress, trauma, and loneliness. Nkabom (or togetherness in the local language) was developed by the West Africa AIDS Foundation to assist and assess the OVCs (orphans & vulnerable children) in Ghana in 2004 with assistance from Ghana International Women’s Club.

For many years, the program provided care for the physical, mental and emotional health of children orphaned or made vulnerable by HIV. With the many individuals that have been assisted in terms of financial stability as well as WAAF’s efforts in ensuring children – whether HIV positive or not – are enrolled in schools, the group no longer meets.

However, for those who continue to find it difficult enrolling or staying in school, WAAF continues to assist in times of crises with school fees and other accessories whilst looking for more sustainable ways to ensure caregivers are able to take over at some point. Each year between 5 and 10 children continue to be assisted this way but the project has been currently dissolved.

 

Human Rights & Stigma Reduction

Stigma and Discrimination against people living with HIV and key populations such as female sex workers and men who have sex with men, reduces access to critical services , adversely affects health outcomes and undermines human rights. As an organization that respects everyone, WAAF is very particular about ensuring the rights of all are observed.

WAAF has zero tolerance to any form of stigma and ensures stigma reduction activities are standard in all project implementations.WAAF’s goal in terms of stigma reduction as well as ensuring human rights are safeguarded is by creating unity and carrying the single message that we the people representing our professions and communities are against stigma.

 

Capacity Building, Empowerment & Advocacy

Other areas of work includes different approaches in capacity building and advocacy. The experience WAAF has gained during years of operation dictates that if civil society organizations (CSOs) in Ghana want to make any significant impact on the wellbeing of the citizens they claim to be representing or working for, then they must engage with the worlds of politics and public institutions.

CSOs must seek to help less powerful citizens have a voice in the social and political arena. Many groups have been identified as having clear needs but because they have such a significant lack in resources and political power, their needs are often not translated into demand. The role of civil society organizations is to make these groups visible so they are able to participate in the world of politics and influence public institutions to better serve their needs.

As an organization with over 14 years of experience working in the field of infectious diseases in Ghana, WAAF has acquired meaningful experience and in-depth knowledge of these issues that marginalized populations face.

WAAF therefore appreciates the need for inclusion of communities affected by TB in the delivery of TB health care in Ghana and better still empowering them to take charge of their own affairs.