Countries: Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan  ||  Duration: 2012-2015  ||  Donor: Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs  || Budget:  

In 2013, AFEW International launched two web-based platforms for medical and non-medical specialists working with key populations in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. The goal of the platforms is to allow specialists to quickly and effectively exchange information and practical experiences as well as get consultation from health care experts on the issues of HIV, TB, viral hepatitis, sexually transmitted diseases, substance dependence, harm reduction and the legal aspects related to these issues. In the first year, the two platforms answered more than 4000 questions.

TAJIKISTAN: OVER 7500 QUESTIONS SUBMITTED IN 2013-2015

In nine regions we equipped twelve coordinators of HIV informational points with computers and Internet access. One of these info points is located at the Police Academy to answer questions from future police officers. The task of the coordinators, who are staff members of local AIDS Centres and who work with key populations on a daily basis, is to answer HIV-related questions. Questions related to drug abuse, TB, sexually transmitted diseases and hepatitis, which they cannot answer themselves, are sent to the national experts and posted on the platform www.AFEW.tj. Depending on the subject, these questions are answered by one of the five national health care experts, who are also technically equipped, within 1-3 days. Information about the experts and national coordinators is available on the platform; any visitor can read their profiles and contact them directly.

“The web-platform significantly contributes to the improvement of access to information about the prevention of infectious diseases, provision of treatment, care and support to people who use drugs and people living with or affected by HIV and TB,” Navruz Dzhaffarov, deputy minister of health of Tajikistan.

In 2013 a total of 2994 questions and answers were posted on the platform. The popularity and necessity of the platform is clearly reflected in the number of questions posted in January 2014 alone – 508. To promote the platform even further and make information available to larger audiences, representatives of public organisations working with key populations were invited to take part in a recent meeting during which the first results and future plans of the platform were discussed. At the end of the meeting the participants approved the new communication strategy that improves interaction among national health experts, info point coordinators and AFEW-Tajikistan.

The film on the right-side bar showing how this project works on site was made in the summer of 2014 in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.

KYRGYZSTAN: COORDINATORS ANSWERING QUESTIONS FROM PRISONS AS WELL

In Kyrgyzstan www.hivplatform.kg featured over 5,500 questions within 2013-2015. NGOs working with key populations became involved when the local platform had been just launched. Clients from two regions in Kyrgyzstan and from the capital Bishkek receive their answers from five trained NGO staff members. Additionally, there are five coordinators answering questions from prisoners and prison staff which mostly deal with the issues of HIV, TB, hepatitis and harm reduction programmes. Just like in Tajikistan, questions that require a more in-depth answer are forwarded to the experts and posted on the platform.

“In May 2013 our hospital reorganised and became an in-patient department to treat patients with drug-resistant tuberculosis from the whole northern part of the country. It was an uneasy time for all doctors, nurses and other medical staff as we were not technically prepared to treat this category of patients. During this time the use of the Internet platform was very helpful to us: we posted all questions related to treatment of and care provision to patients with drug-resistant tuberculosis that required immediate response on the platform. Thanks to professional, detailed and timely answers from experts, we readjusted the treatment of patients, especially those with HIV-TB, TB-Hepatitis C co-infection, and patients undergoing opioid substitution treatment (OST),” Tatyana Pereverzeva, nurse manager at Republican Tuberculosis Hospital in Karabalta, Kyrgyzstan says.

AFEW’s plan for the coming time is to equip a TB hospital in Batken region with a computer and Internet Access – the administration of the hospital has pledged a volunteer doctor to manage the question flow.