RESPOND Project newsletter

IMPROVING HIV/AIDS SERVICES FOR KEY POPULATIONS
IN UKRAINE

Project Newsletter
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#32, January, 2017
In this issue:
 
First Regional Meeting in Kropyvnytsky Prompts New Reach & Test Ideas
Social Workers to Retain MSM in Care and Treatment
NGOs Integrate with QI Collaborative to Cover More PLHIV, PLHIV/PWID and Their Sexual Partners with Treatment and Care

Regional Coordinators and QI Mentors Fine-Tune Strategies to Achieve Desired Changes

On January 17-18, 2017, Regional Coordinators and Quality Improvement Mentors from RESPOND’s eight pilot regions convened in Kyiv to review progress and further coordinate the implementation of QI activities. The participants finalized regional change package frame, agreed on process indicators to measure progress, and discussed the role of health providers in facilitating patients’ voluntary status disclosure and increasing adherence to ART. The meeting was preparatory to the Quarterly Cross-Regional QI Collaborative event scheduled for March 2017.

First Regional Meeting in Kropyvnytsky Prompts New Reach & Test Ideas

QI learning session brought together key regional QI Collaborative stakeholders including regional and city-level administrations, head physicians from district level hospitals, and members of local QI teams comprising QI coaches, primary health care and specialty physicians, and social workers.

QI activities in Kirovohrad region got underway in October 2016, following thorough analysis of gaps in the HIV service continuum, identification and planning of QI changes, establishment of regional implementation group, and development of QI Charter. To make treatment and care more accessible, new ART sites opened in Malovyskivsky and Novoukrainsky rayons and in the city of Olexandriya in October 2016. Out of 140 ART patients from Oleksandriya originally receiving treatment at the Regional AIDS Center, 92 patients have been transferred to the local ART site (as of Jan 1, 2017).

The meeting participants brainstormed more ideas towards the improvement of HIV-service continuum and agreed on the following steps to reach more people at risk for HIV:
  • to advocate purchase of rapid tests through local (rayon) budgets;
  • to offer HIV testing along with chest X-ray examination performed in mobile X-ray screening vehicles that travel the rural areas of the region;
  • to redistribute available rapid tests in favor of rayons with higher need for the tests.
The regional QI team will present its achievements and lessons learned at the Cross-Regional Learning Session in March 2017.

Social Workers to Retain MSM in Care and Treatment

On January 24-25, 2017, RESPOND conducted a training on ART Adherence for 18 case-managers from NGO "ALLIANCE. GLOBAL” (formerly Gay-Alliance) implementing the Reach, Test, and Link model in Kyiv, Odesa, and Dnipropetrovsk. The model named "GET TEST" was designed by RESPOND to improve the continuum of care for MSM by introducing innovative online outreach, motivational counseling, testing, and referral. "GET TEST" started in December 2015 and will be implemented through the end of September 2017. Initially designed as an intervention to enroll MSM in testing and linking HIV positive clients to care, RESPOND and "ALLIANCE.GLOBAL" agreed to add another step to the model to increase the number of people who start treatment.

The training conducted in January allowed the case managers to improve their skills needed to effectively motivate clients to initiate ART and build adherence to treatment.

As of January 1, 2017, 1 668 MSM were tested for HIV, 93 tested positive (5.6%), of them, 68 were registered with AIDS Service and 31 initiated on ART.

Rapid test kits are provided through a donation from AHF Ukraine (AIDS Healthcare Foundation).

HIV Testing Services and Linkage to Care, as of Jan 1, 2017:

NGOs Integrate with QI Collaborative to Cover More PLHIV, PLHIV/PWID and Their Sexual Partners with Treatment and Care

To scale up NGO services in priority regions, RESPOND awarded nine sub-grants for implementation of the intervention titled Strengthening the HIV Service Continuum at ART Sites. This intervention is based on the piloted and refined models developed earlier by RESPOND in partnership with the PLHIV Network including: Patient School (adherence support for PLHIV on ART); Steps towards Health (linking PLHIV/PWID lost to follow-up to care), and Partner Health (HTS for sexual partners of PLHIV and PWID).

Under these sub-grants, the NGOs will work with thirty-eight QI local sites through the end of September 2017, to improve local cascades of HIV services by identifying new PLHIV among sexual partners of current clients and linking them to care thus reducing the testing and linkage gaps; returning PLHIV lost to follow up thus addressing the linkage gap; and supporting PLHIV on ART thus impacting the treatment gap.

View list of implementing partners and geographic coverage of the "Strengthening the HIV Service Continuum" intervention

RESPOND:

  • Quality of Services
  • Network and Organizational Strengthening
  • Data for Decision Making
The USAID RESPOND Project funded under the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief is aimed at reducing the HIV transmission among key populations in Ukraine. The project is implemented by Pact, Inc. in partnership with FHI 360.
This publication is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.