Support Program for HIV Positive Women in Ha Long City

With USAID support under PEPFAR program, COHED implementedSupport Program for HIV Positive Women in Ha Long city (QuangNinhprovince) from October 2005 to November 2011.

The project was designed in response to high level of stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS, particularly women; and their limited access to health care and social services. The core strategy of this project is employing a woman-centered approach through establishment and building capacity for Cactus Flower Club – a place for women living with HIV/AIDS.

Phase 1 (2005-2007) of the project focused on capacity building for these women to deliver home-based care and support for WLHIV and their families and facilitate their participation in communication and advocacy events as a key agentto reduce stigma and discrimination against PLHIV within the broader community. The project simultaneouslyempowered WLHIVby implementing the livelihood development model that provided seed money, training and technical support for new income generation activities. In Phase 2 (2007-2011), the project extended its support to children affected by HIV as well as men living with HIV, shifting toward ensuring clients’ access to comprehensive continuum of care.

Project Goals and Objectives

The project goal is to sustainably improve the quality of life of identified people living with HIV/AIDS in Ha Long city with a focus on HIV positive women and their children via the provision of home-based care, social support services and empowerment for positive living.

The four specific objectives of the project are:

  • HIV/AIDS positive people and their families to actively participate in social activities and HIV/AIDS prevention and care.
  • Improve accessibility of PLHIV, especially women and children, to qualified health care, psycho-social and spiritual support.
  • Improve accessibility of OVC to quality health care, psycho-social, nutrition and education support.
  • Increase local community awareness of HIV/AIDS, and reduce stigma and discrimination against HIV/AIDS infected and affected people.

Highlights of Activities, Achievements and Impacts

  • Established and built capacity for core members of Cactus Flower Club to provide outreach and home based care to PLHIV.
  • Provided individualized support to more than 700 PLHIV and 300 OVC and referred them to existing health and social service to ensure the accessibility to full continuum of prevention, care and support services. The core HBC service package includes health, nutrition, psycho-social, spiritual, livelihood and prevention with positive support.
  • Piloted and fine-tuned incoming generation models through capacity building and provide logistical support. The microcredit based support was based needs and capacities of beneficiaries. Examples of vocational training for women included crochet, flower arrangement and seed money for household economic development (chicken raising, sea product growing etc).
  • Established and sustained a well-functioning referral network to out-patient clinics, VCT sites and other services. Final project evaluation showed significant increase in clients’ access to health care services
  • The project worked toward reducing stigma and discrimination through various activities, including art-based community communication and awareness raising, promotion of positive images of WLHIV through engaging and empowering active members of Cactus Flower Club as changing agents, dialogue with and engaging local leaders in community events.
  • With honour, Cactus Flower Club received the Certificate of Merit from QuangNinh Provincial Health Service for their contribution to HIV response. The project was also recognized by Pact Vietnam as a best practice in home-based care model for PLHIV and OVC

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