Accelerating Best Practices in Peer Support Around the World

global health


Social support, peer support, and strategic perspectives on health behaviour

Prof. Ed Fisher, Global Director of Peers for Progress

My comments address three general topics, the fundamental importance of social support in human behaviour and health, the strategic roles of peer support in prevention and health care, and some more general thoughts about behaviour change and health.
Social support as fundamental
Psychologists used to think that the basis for the connection between the infant and the mother was that the mother was the source of milk food. Harlow showed that, except when it’s hungry, an infant monkey went to the relatively warm, terrycloth mother on the left rather than the wire surrogate mother that was the source of milk. From this and a number of other studies, Harlow made the point that ‘contact comfort’, as he put it, is a powerful and fundamental characteristic of human behaviour.

A vast amount of research shows that having someone you can call on for a favour, with whom you can discuss personal matters, and who knows you…


Impact of Integrated Healthcare on Social Support for Patients with Co-Morbid HIV and Chronic Illness in South Africa

Jewels Rhode is a second year MPH student in the Department of Health Behavior at the Gillings School of Global Public Health at UNC Chapel Hill.

For her practicum last summer, she traveled to Cape Town, South Africa, where she worked with the South African Medical Research Council (MRC) on examining the treatment and disease experiences of people with co-morbid HIV and chronic illness.
The Issue
There are about 6.4 million people living with HIV in South Africa (Shisana et al., 2014). South Africa has the largest public sector antiretroviral (ART) program in the world, providing HIV treatment to 2.4 million children and adults living with HIV (32% of the population) (Shisana et al., 2014). As a result of their expansive ART program, South Africans are now living longer with HIV; however, the success of this program has introduced a new health concern with the rise of co-morbid HIV and chronic illnesses (Bradshaw, Steyn, Levitt, & Nojilana, 2014).

About 16.5% of South…


Comparing Diabetes Support in 3 Countries

Clayton Velicer, MPH

Our website has frequently promoted peer support and community health worker programs around the world including programs in Afghanistan, China, Australia, and India.

In this week’s blog, we discuss the findings from a recent article that compares the peer-led MoPoTsyo program in Cambodia with diabetes support programs in two other low- and medium- income countries (DR Congo and Philippines).
DR Congo
The program in Kinshasa, DR Congo includes 80 primary care centers (called Kin-Reseau) that deliver diabetes care as part of its basic package. The program was founded 40 years ago by a missionary doctor that trained the health center staff to decentralize care. The centers offer a weekly health center visit and bi-monthly medical consultation by a trained doctor that includes glucose and blood pressure measurements and foot care. Medicines are offered at subsidized rates and patients on insulin receive their injections at the health center with a nurse’s…

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