Save the Children ran a project especially designed for case workers in an effort to strengthen the case management’ of HIV positive PWID
HIV positives among People Who Inject Drugs (PWID) need more skilled case workers to get proper clinical intervention, treatment, counselling, and acceptance in society, says Save the Children in Bangladesh.
Case workers, health practitioners and development officials shared their experiences with different stakeholders at an information dissemination meeting in the capital's Lake Castle Hotel on Tuesday.
Save the Children ran a project especially designed for case workers in an effort to strengthen the case management’ of HIV positive PWID. The project was funded by World Health Organization (WHO) and UNAIDS.
A case worker looks after specific number of patients in order to ensure close monitoring of day to day situation and the patients’ adherence to the drugs.
According to Save the Children, a total of 668 HIV patients into antiretroviral Therapy (ART) from Drop In Centers (DIC) in Dhaka, Gazipur and Narayanganj are currently being managed by the case workers; however, there is a lack of trained staff for ART program management among PWID.
Almost half of the ART receivers are street-based with reports of a higher mobility and that has been a big challenge, the statement mentioned.
Masud Hossain Ripon, a case worker who works in Chankharpul in the capital, shared his views and said that continuing follow up with street-based HIV positive PWID, as well as encouraging them to take or continue antiretroviral therapy (ART) and medical treatment, is a challenging task.
He said: “Street based HIV positive PWIDs are floating and homeless, and since they do not have a specific place to live, it is hard to trace and monitor them. Their frequent movements serve as a barrier to bringing and retaining them under service coverage. In fact, taking treatment is not a priority for them.”
Considering the rising HIV epidemic among people who inject drugs (PWID) in Dhaka, previously, Save the Children introduced one-stop-services through comprehensive drop-in-centers (DICs) to reverse the trend.
In this process, PWID are tested for HIV. If someone is found positive, s/he is counseled for antiretroviral therapy (ART) considering the test and treat strategy, which will prevent further transmission of the virus.
How can we solve the problem?
As part of an intervention to the problem, a mobile based app has been developed for technology based data collection for field workers. The app “HIVCS” was launched on Tuesday, which will collect real-time biometric data.
Under this project, 82 persons were trained on patient management, 50 persons on biometric data collection, and 50 persons on ART supply chain management.
Care Bangladesh and Mukto Akash Bangladesh are working with Save the Children as the implementation partners of this project.
The program was presided over by Professor Dr Shamiul Islam, Director-MBDC and Line Director, TB-L & ASP, Directorate General of Health Services.
Md Saidur Rahman, additional secretary (WH), Health Service Division, MOH&FW was present as the chief guest, while Dr Saima Khan, country manager, UNAIDS Bangladesh, Dr Md Belal Hossain, deputy director and program manager, AIDS/STD Program, DGHS, and Dr Shamim Jahan, director - Health, Nutrition & HIV/AIDS, Save the Children were present at the event.