The A.H.E.A.D Model assists the community to withstand the threat of HIV/AIDS by integrating this issue into every stage of the development process:
• Phase 1 – Knowledge (Health Promotion): Health Education and hygiene promotion ensures a safer environment, with all preventable diseases particularly diarrhoea, and skin diseases being brought under control. This is particularly crucial for those with deficient immune systems who are vulnerable to opportunistic diseases.
• Phase 2 – Practical (Water and Sanitation):Safe drinking water provides more protection from cholera and diarrhoea; more abundant water supply reduces skin and eye diseases and enables better personal hygiene; safe faecal disposal breaks the faecal-oral route and reduces many communicable diseases which can become chronic for People Living With AIDS (PLWAs).
• Phase 3 – Economic Support: Skills training and starting local cottage industries improves local incomes and helps families to earn enough to make provision for their own children and secure their own families future well being should wage earners die prematurely.
• Phase 4 – Social Support: It is only when personal material security has been established that most people become altruistic towards the plight of others. Once club members are well organised themselves they start to look at how they can assist the disadvantaged in the community. They identify those who are the needy and start to make local arrangements for their support. This is often by the traditional practice of having a ‘Chiefs Plot’ which is a communal nutrition garden which, by the sale of produce provides income for school fees, as well as assisting with food for orphans and widows.
In each health club one person is trained as a Home Base Care Trainer who has registered ‘clients’ whom she monitors. They are taught how to provide a balanced diet for themselves with their own organically grown nutrition garden. They are also taught the use of medicinal herbs to treat opportunistic infections, so reducing their dependency on local health centres, which are often ill equipped to help them. Much anecdotal evidence has been collected in the last few years (in Makoni District) to show how people with HIV are living positively and managing their health through good nutrition and the use of homeopathic remedies.