In September 2013 trainings were conducted for NGOs engaged in outreach activity within the Harm Reduction Project of the “Fighting HIV/AIDS Program” funded by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
Around 153 outreach workers representing 17 local NGOs working with drug users, sex workers and other high risk groups to prevent spread of HIV/AIDS and facilitate harm reduction, attended 8 training sessions conducted during 9-27 September by local experts.
The main focus of the training was directed at the role of outreach activity in harm reduction, responsibilities of outreach workers, establishment of relations with hospitals and doctors-consulters, organization of working schedule, selection of work points by outreach workers and establishment of first contact with drug users. Other related issues including the proper registration of distributed materials, the importance of monitoring and ways of conducting them, the codification of people involved in the harm reduction project, the use of distributed materials, the registration of appointment cards for medical consultancy, the preparation of reports, the observance of security rules in outreach activity were also presented to the participants.
Outreach workers shared their positive experience on methods of establishing effective communication with sensitive groups, ways of gaining their trust and achieving better results in the harm reduction activity. The most effective and exemplary approaches were further discussed and acknowledged by the rest of the participants. The newly recruited outreach workers and volunteers were recommended to apply these effective approaches in their work.
After each session, the presented information and knowledge was strengthened by practical exercises, group works and discussions. Role plays were staged on establishment of first contact with sensitive groups, harm reduction through enlightenment and some other important issues.
Importance of the enlightenment work among high risk groups for the intensification of the HIV testing for early discovery of infection, leading role of outreach workers in this process, accompanying some sensitive risk group members up to the examination point were repeatedly underlined. Coordinators of the Project Implementation Unit provided the outreach workers with the updated list of Voluntary Consulting and Testing points. They were also consulted about how to effectively collaborate with the six mobile examination points currently functioning in 5 cities of Azerbaijan (Baku, Sumgayit, Ganja, Lankaran, Shirvan). The possibility of increasing usage of mobile points thanks to the multiprofile cooperation of outreach workers and AIDS Centre was highlighted.
In line with the outreach activity, the Global Fund’s HIV/AIDS prevention program initiated procurement of drugs for the treatment of venereal diseases and donated them to the clinics and cabinets treating venereal diseases. List and address of the clinics together with the contact details of doctors was given to outreach workers. Outreach workers were also consulted on good coordination mechanisms: contacting doctors before sending patients to the clinics, arranging time for consultancy, and accompanying some sensitive patients to doctor’s place. To note that the main objective of the Global Fund in supporting the venereal diseases clinics is to establish and strengthen relations between the NGOs engaged in outreach activity and hospitals that can provide services to the HIV/AIDS risk groups.
This year trainings were conducted by experienced NGO workers who have been engaged in outreach activity within the Global Fund project since 2006. This is a success indicator of the activity directed at the capacity building of national NGOs through organizing trainings and other related events. Active participation of outreach workers in trainings and their more logical approach to problems also confirms the effectiveness of the trainings.
To note that as a result of the work done and measures taken the involvement of people belonging to the main risk groups has been significantly raised - during April-January 2013 number of IDUs covered by the program increased from 4370 to 11037, SWs from 3409 to 6552, MSMs from 1088 to 1333.
Mehriban Zeynalova, Head of “The Clean World” organization responds to the questions of the training participants. Baku_2013
Rashid Vezirov, PIU M&E officer facilitates discussion of participants working with sex workers. Baku_2013
Outreach workers exchanging views on effective communication methods with drug users. Baku_2013
Jeyhun Eminbeyli, project manager of the “Healthy Life and Development” organization discusses ways of establishing first contact with drug users. Baku_2013
Role play on establishing first contact with drug users.Baku_2013