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PRIMEX remains at the forefront of the fight against HIV epidemic in the most vulnerable cities in Mindanao as it begins to implement the Department of Health (DOH) project on Accelerating Community-Based HIV Drug Abuse Health Service Models in Zamboanga and General Santos Cities.
It aims targets specific communities that are at risk to HIV including female sex workers, males who have unprotected sex with other males (MSMs) and persons who inject drugs. The project seeks to achieve the following goals:
- implement an evaluated model of health service provision for sexually transmitted infections and drug abuse among the vulnerable population in priority communities of Gensan and Zamboanga cities;
- facilitate their access to right information and health services with the addition of making them aware of their rights; and
- facilitate a safe legal environment in the delivery of health services to the identified vulnerable and marginalized population.
The Project Consultant Team submitted its Inception Report to DOH on July 2012 after a workshop where the team consolidated their understanding of the terms of references and scope of work. They also leveled off expectations and clarified management, technical, and operational issues affecting the project’s implementation until April 2013.
The term “acceleration” under this project refers to increasing services for people who inject drugs through the setting up and strengthening of community outreach posts operations and the formation of the corresponding support groups. On the other hand, “evaluated model of health service provision” refers to the interventions previously operationalized in Zamboanga City including the one under the ADB-assisted technical assistance project implemented by PRIMEX from May 2007 to April 2009.
These interventions applied the Indigenous Leader Outreach Model already introduced in Zamboanga and Gensan under the Local Enhancement and Development for Health project with technical assistance from Family Health International.
The previous ADB-PRIMEX project (RETA 6321–Subproject 5: Strengthening Country Response to HIV/AIDS among High-Risk Groups) designed and implemented a ‘before and after’ evaluation to measure project outcomes. This includes changes in knowledge, attitudes, and practices of injecting drug users and a more positive attitude of local barangay leaders and residents towards drug users in two intervention sites.The full implementation of this model, however, was not accomplished in the previous projects due to time and funding limitations.
Project interventions will build on the following models/activities previously introduced and implemented in the two cities:
- Indigenous Leader Outreach Model (ILOM) introduced by DOH through the LEAD Project with technical assistance from Family Health International.
- PRIMEX/ADB RETA 6321–Subproject 5 in Zamboanga City. Activities corresponded to Stages 1 and 2 of ILOM. Outreach posts established in two barangays provided a safe environment for IDUs to access services such as information, counseling, including training on cleaning syringes, among others. IDU and family support groups were organized under this project.
- Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Round 5 injecting drug users intervention including community outreach and peer education corresponding to Stage 1 of ILOM.