Implementation of a Client Management Programme for HIV/AIDS Prevention, Treatment and Support in the Republic of Belarus
Donors: Matra Social Transformation Programme, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands
Partners: Positive Movement, Mother’s Against Drugs
Project sites: Minsk and Svetlogorsk regions, Republic of Belarus
Duration: January 2010 – December 2012
As of January 2009, there were 9 618 HIV cases officially registered in Belarus and UNAIDS estimated that there may be as many as 20 000 people living with HIV in the country. An initial fact-finding mission carried out by AFEW in 2003 found that very limited access to international financial resources and technical assistance for HIV prevention activities existed in the country. Since that time, the HIV epidemic has continued to grow at a rapid pace throughout Belarus, placing national service providers under increasing strain and leading to deterioration in the quality of care.
In particular, there is a clear lack of referral, communication and case-tracking among disconnected healthcare streams. Coupled with a weakened civil sector and high level of stigma against people affected by HIV, this means that conditions go undiagnosed and people do not access life-saving treatment.
In Eastern Europe, civil society groups have often filled gaps in services and formed vital contact points for marginalised groups. Realising that it is imperative that a positive working relationship develops between NGOs, state services and affected populations in Belarus, AFEW launched a new project ‘Implementation of a Client Management Programme for HIV/AIDS Prevention, Treatment and Support in the Republic of Belarus’ in 2010.
AFEW’s role in this project is to provide NGOs working in this sector with technical support, guidance and knowledge that will strengthen their capacity and voice. At the same time, AFEW will work with governmental and non-governmental partners to introduce a client management system of effective coordination and communication between services.
The project will liaise with the National Programme on HIV Prevention 2006-2010 which was set up by the government of Belarus to provide access to medico-psychological services for injecting drug users, men who have sex with men and sex workers. AFEW’s introduction of client management to the Belarusian healthcare sector will be crucial to the programme’s aims of introducing effective outreach and social work in 15-20 cities, expanding coverage of antiretroviral treatment and providing information and protection services to at-risk groups.
Client Management methodologies will be established in the civil and state healthcare sectors through:
- Steering committees in Minsk and Svetlogorsk that bring patients together with NGO and government representatives for dialogue and policy development;
- Set-up of a client management network, including the establishment of social bureaus in each project city, publication of informational materials and launch of self-help groups and training of peer leaders;
- Capacity trainings and study tours for project partners;
- Meetings and seminars with governmental partners, including a joint end-of-project conference.
From this launch pad, it is anticipated that client management services established under the project will be scaled up to reach a further 7 regions of the country. Furthermore, AFEW will help project partners to develop proposals for follow-on activities to the government.