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RESPOND Project newsletter
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IMPROVING HIV/AIDS SERVICES FOR KEY POPULATIONS
IN UKRAINE

Project Newsletter
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#35-36, April-May, 2017
In this issue:
Innovative Sustainability Strategies for Ukrainian NGOs
The Quality Improvement Collaborative Towards the Fast Track Targets
How RESPOND Transformed my Life
VIDEO Competition

Reaching More People at Risk of HIV

On May 18-19, the USAID RESPOND project held a Community of Practice meeting for its partner NGOs implementing an intervention aimed at improving the enrollment of people who inject drugs (PWID), and their sexual partners in HIV testing services in high HIV-burden regions of Ukraine (Dnipropetrovska, Khersonska, Kyivska, Mykolayivska, and Odeska oblasts and the city of Kyiv).

This intervention titled Partner’s Health was developed and piloted by the RESPOND Project as a much-needed and unique tool to fill the detection and testing gaps in the continuum of HIV services. Social and medical workers explained that sexual partners of PLHIV and particularly, PWID had always been a hard group to reach due to several reasons, just to name a few: self-stigmatization of PWID and fear of disclosure, false assumptions that registration with AIDS services requires registration with police or that ART may cause death, fear of registering with AIDS service as an overwhelmingly long, humiliating, painful, and expensive process, lack of motivational counseling skills among social workers, etc. The Partner Health intervention offers tools to overcome these challenges and enables PLHIV and PLWID to build healthy relationships, disclose their HIV status, and link partners with HIV to treatment and care.
Since the start of the Partner’s Health intervention for sexual partners of PWID in August 2015, a total of 4,138 people were tested for HIV, and 284 (7%) tested positive. Of those who tested positive, 194 (68%) registered with AIDS services and 98 (50.5%) started ART (Figure 1. HIV Testing Services for Sexual Partners of PWID).
Since the start of implementing the Partner’s Health intervention targeted at PLHIV sexual partners in August 2015, a total of 5,306 clients were tested for HIV, and 646 (12%) of them tested positive. Of those who tested positive, 485 (75%) were registered with AIDS services, and 199 (41%) of those registered started ART (Figure 2. HIV Testing Services for Sexual Partners of PLHIV).
RESPOND handed over Partner’s Health intervention to the Charitable Organization “All-Ukrainian Network of PLHIV” by conducting a training for the Network’s central office staff and regional branches and equipping the Network with implementation manuals and facilitation guides. The Partner’s Health model has been included in the application to the Global Fund for 2018-2020.

Innovative Sustainability Strategies for Ukrainian NGOs

Since RESPOND was launched in Ukraine in 2012, it has promoted holistic organizational development rather than grant project management, knowledge sharing rather than knowledge “teaching”, and mentoring rather than training. From the Integrated Technical and Organizational Capacity Assessment tool, which evaluates partners’ strengths and weaknesses and helps them shape their future, to the Organizational Performance Index, which tracks performance, RESPOND helps partners broaden, deepen and strengthen their capacities, enabling them to carry out solutions in an effective, efficient, relevant and sustainable manner.

Since summer 2015, RESPOND has been piloting a new capacity development approach: developing social enterprises. As donor funding for middle income countries like Ukraine decreases, Ukrainian civil society is looking for creative ways to build a resourceful strategy that will be sustainable long-term. Some organizations are creating social enterprises and businesses with a double bottom line that will help them increase their social impact, as well as generate profits to support their organizations’ sustainability.

As of today, the following six partner NGOs receive support from RESPOND through trainings, mentoring opportunities, an international exchange, and connection to investment opportunities in the development of their social enterprises:
  1. "From Heart to Heart", Cherkasy – furniture & textile production
  2. Kyiv City branch of the PLHIV Network – manufacturing of handmade soap
  3. Kryvyi Rih City branch of the PLHIV Network – early child development services
  4. Cherkasy regional branch of the PLHIV Network – charity shop
  5. Dnipropetrovsk regional branch of the PLHIV Network (joined in May 2016) – pottery studio
6. "Vse Mozhlyvo", Melitopol (joined in August 2016) – medical waste utilization
On May 24, the RESPOND project hosted another Community of Practice meeting for its partner HIV-service NGOs. The focus of the meeting was on sharing results and lessons learned from developing social enterprises. Social entrepreneurs discussed various approaches and potential strategies to ensure sustainability of programs and services for people and communities affected by HIV.

RESPOND continues to provide capacity development support to its local partners and one example is the guidelines on developing the organizational sustainability strategy. Key sections in these guidelines are the vision of sustainability, landscape and trend analysis (target populations, stakeholders and donors’ analysis), assets and capacities (inner capacities and resource inventory), and goals and action plans for sustainable development. With support from RESPOND, the select partners will adapt this framework for their specific organizational needs and challenges to ensure their service delivery is sustainable and each organization is operational in the long run.

The Quality Improvement Collaborative Towards the Fast Track Targets

In 2014, UNAIDS announced its Fast Track strategy to eliminate the global HIV epidemic by 2030. “Treatment as prevention” is at the core of this strategy, calling for early anti-retroviral treatment (ART) at the time of HIV diagnosis as the most effective way to curb the epidemic. The Fast Track’s targets include 90% of PLHIV who are aware of their HIV status; 90% of PLHIV who are aware of their status and are receiving ART; and 90% of those on ART who have an undetectable viral load. Also in 2014, PEPFAR published its strategy on an AIDS-free Generation known as PEPFAR 3.0. referencing UNAIDS’ Fast Track targets, this strategy calls for scaling up ART (“doing the right thing”), focusing on sub-national areas with the highest HIV burden (“at the right places”), and demonstrating progress towards and achieving the 90-90-90 targets in select countries by 2016 (“at the right time”).

To reach these ambitious targets, in 2015, RESPOND initiated a large-scale quality improvement collaborative in Ukraine aligned with the UNAIDS’ Fast Track and PEPFAR 3.0 strategies.

The focal points of the QI collaborative in each region are 155 local QI teams, from 5 in Kyiv City to 39 in Dnipropetrovsk and 48 in the Odesa region. QI teams are organized around AIDS Centers and ART sites, which provide HIV testing and treatment services. Each local team is led by the ART site physician (QI coach) and comprised of the government primary healthcare and specialty practitioners (TB, STI, OB/GYN and narcology), non-government psychosocial service providers and PLHIV representatives.
The collaborative effort is built on the Quality Improvement (QI) model, which has a goal of bringing HIV services to a set of standards (such as 90-90-90) while meeting patient expectations.

QI changes implemented by the local QI teams are focused on three main gaps along the continuum of HIV services: (1) HIV testing and referral; (2) Linkage and enrollment of PLHIV into care and treatment; (3) ART initiation and adherence.

Successful QI changes are illustrated through the regional QI success stories: To facilitate the process of collaborating and peer-learning, the RESPOND team created an open resource in the form of Electronic Regional Storyboards offering information on the milestones and members of the QI Collaborative in each region, regional change packages and implementation dynamics, current regional treatment cascades, maps of ART sites and their coverage with services provided by NGOs, examples of successful changes, interactive run-charts featuring HIV testing, detection, patient registration and treatment indicators.

Watch video on how to use the Electronic Stroryboards.

How RESPOND Transformed my Life VIDEO Competition

Tell us about transformations that took place in your life and work because of your involvement with RESPOND. Make a video and participate in RESPOND’s video competition!

The video should be up to 1 minute long. It can be recorded on your phone.
Send the video to Larysa Kurashyna via email (lkurashyna@pactworld.org) from your smartphones by August 15th, 2017.

The RESPOND team will review the videos and will pick the winners.

The winners will be announced and awarded at the final project conference in November 2017.

Good luck!

RESPOND team
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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.
38 Volodymyrska St., Kyiv, 01030, Ukraine
T. +380 44 377 5464; F. +380 44 377 5463

RESPOND.ORG.UA

Copyright © 2017 USAID RESPOND Project, All rights reserved.






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