Components that Guided Observations

Support Groups under Observation

Bamenda Regional Hospital Support Group

Tubah District Hospital (BAMBUI)


Does the support group facilitate mutual support among group members and reduce isolation?

YES, At the end of each session, participants coming from the same locality are made to know themselves, share phone contact and they are paired so as to serve as relay agents among themselves. Moreover, group members show willingness to share their personal problems which sometimes even proves to be complex or very intimate.

YES, evidence by the fact that group members feel happy on observation when they meet together after one month of separation and surprisingly they are able to call each other by names despite their large numbers.


Does the support group improve social and family support/decrease feelings of loneliness and guilt?

YES. Participants who even intend to get married are encouraged to come with their partners so that they can be help to disclose their status. Moreover, they are continuously enlightened on the importance of disclosing their status to close relative. This helps in relieving anxiety associated with reprisals of disclosing their status.

NO, even though the group decreases feeling of loneliness to an extent, activities here were mainly limited to sharing of ARVs.


Does it promote greater openness and emotional expressiveness both within and outside the group?

NO. It should be noted that support group sessions that are done during the outreach at Tubah district hospital (Banbui) are done by archivist who are concerned with the management of patients’ file at the regional hospital. They have no training related to health but handle the support group of Tubah based on routine practices and observations made at the level of BRH. Their main activity focus on encouraging patients to adhere to their ARVs, do their CD4 count and to identify those who are at potential risks.

Less or no time is was dedicated to discussion, but to activities that are normally performed during each clinic day when clients come for their normal visits such as registering patients and giving ARVs.

No education on safer sexual practices was observed.

No; no time was allocated so as to share with participants how they can valuably exploit their talents or abilities so as to improve on their quality of life.


Does the support group facilitate integration of a changed self and body image into the patient’s current view of self?

NO. Instead, participants are enlightened on adjustment patterns that can help them improve on their body image without making them to see the effects of HIV on their physical appearance.


Does it improve coping skills and normalization of experiences?

YES. New coping skills are learned and enrich the spectrum of their existing coping skills. Their sources of inspiration lies on sharing of experiences observed from other members.


Improve the doctor-patient


YES. Participants are reminded to always present the least complain related to their disease, side effects of ARVs or even opportunistic infection because any of them could proceed to a fatal complication.


Is there detoxification of feelings around death and dying in the support group?

YES. Even though the participants see other PLHIV dying, they are made to understand that death results mainly from defaulting, non-adherence, social isolation and depression.


Does it help patients develop a life project?

More or less. Even though they are told that HIV is not the end and that it should not prevent them from proceeding with their normal activities, no participant was observed to be given the opportunity share his or her experience or on how he/she is succeeding in business. Or other activity.


Does the support group promote safer sexual practices?

YES. They are encourage on the importance of abstinence, fidelity and use of condom, and are cautioned on how resistance to HAART develops when unsafe sexual practice is carried out.


Does it enhance quality of life and greater authenticity?

YES. PLHIV are encouraged to use the time with which they are left with to do valuable activities that can promote psychological, socioeconomic wellbeing.