Support Program for HIV Positive Women in Ha Long City

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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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