Country: Tajikistan || Duration: July 2009 – December 2010 || Donor: European Union || Budget: €530,787
ABOUT THE PROJECT
AFEW had identified a clear need to build the capacity of local health service providers to better educate and deliver services to vulnerable groups particularly at risk of HIV, tuberculosis and water-borne illnesses (such as hepatitis A and E, cholera and other diarrheal diseases). A combined response to all these conditions is vital, given that they are commonly found as co-infections in patients.
For this reason, in July 2009, AFEW launched a new project ‘Improving Basic Health Services in the Khatlon and Soghd Provinces of Tajikistan’, which is particularly focused on expanding and improving services for vulnerable groups. Project activities are aimed at vulnerable women (sex workers, women led-households and care-givers), people who inject drugs, people living with HIV and the general population.
The project had three main aims:
Within 18 months, AFEW established mechanisms to: facilitate coordination between the governmental and non-governmental healthcare sectors; expand access to public health information and services for target groups; and promote better sanitation and hygiene to both vulnerable people and service providers.
Activities Defined By Needs and Requests from Stakeholders
A ‘Strategy and Approval Workshop’ was held at the outset to determine the needs of vulnerable groups, revise plans and discuss lessons learnt from previous projects. Furthermore, a needs assessment was conducted to better define which areas of knowledge and services need improvement in the project sites. Following on from this, a Project Steering Committee met on a regular basis to direct and review the project.
Continuous Education and Training for Professionals
A series of training sessions were developed and delivered to local professionals who were points of contact for target groups. Themes will include basic sanitation, prevention education and delivery techniques for services aimed at people who inject drugs, sex workers and other vulnerable people.
In order to ensure better access to training and educational materials, both during and after the project, AFEW:
Equipping Vulnerable People with Knowledge
Vital to the long-term success of this initiative will be the delivery of information about healthcare and sanitation to vulnerable people in these regions. Equipping vulnerable people with the knowledge to make informed decisions about their own health is vital to improving the epidemiological situation. AFEW will conduct studies to determine the key areas of knowledge that are lacking or inadequate among vulnerable groups. On this basis, targeted information will be delivered to vulnerable groups and the general public on good hygiene and healthcare via: educational leaflets and publications; informational sessions and trainings; a mass media campaign.
By August 2010, the project has already achieved some solid results:
Within the project, in June 2010 AFEW launched a mass media campaign ‘Our Health is in Your Hands!’. The campaign was initiated in response to research that revealed a low level of awareness of sanitation and hygiene together with a lack of information on prevention of water-borne infections. Especially during the summer months, when flooding is common, the incidence of these infections begins to increase. Information has been disseminated through local media, billboards, poster campaigns and souvenirs