AVSI received a sub-grant from JHPIEGO for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) funded RPP-HIV project, aimed to improve the health status of priority populations through the increase access to quality HIV testing, age-appropriate counseling, enrollment in ARV services and follow-up, including adherence support.
AVSI focuses on the Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) component, which goal is to improve the capacity of households to provide the basic needs of children, prevent infection by HIV and control the epidemic when the disease is present in the household.
The program is being implemented through the existing social centers and NGO platforms in the region of Daloa and is targeting 16,396 beneficiaries.
Persistent gaps exist in Ivory Coast with the testing and care of the population infected with HIV. There is also a perceived stigma around HIV, preventing individuals and the population to take the necessary steps towards testing, receiving care and visiting health centers.
1. Design and implement targeted HIV testing and linkage strategies for PPs at health facilities and communities in the prioritized districts;
2. Provide comprehensive HIV prevention, care and treatment services to PPs;
3. Support and strengthen data management, including high-quality documentation, reporting, analysis, dissemination and use at the district and community levels;
4. Develop capacity of community-based organizations and decentralized Government entities in delivery and management of high quality HIV prevention, care, treatment and support services
To minimize the perceived stigma, the project enrolls households where there are known cases of HIV infection (of the caregiver or a child) and cases where there is no current known case of HIV infection but risk of infection.
AVSI’s OVC component:
The program will be implemented through the existing Social Centers and NGO platforms in the target region. Close collaboration with clinical care providers and Community Health Workers will allow the OVC intervention to target and track effectiveness in improving adherence to treatment, access to services, and other health outcomes which would be more difficult to ensure without a strong system of community outreach and support. The project targets 16, 396 OVC beneficiaries.
The sub-award activities will include training of NGO staff, economic strengthening, quality education, health care, psychosocial wellbeing, child protection, nutrition, care and shelter for OVC and their families according to their vulnerability levels.
Economic strengthening will include asset transfer for critically vulnerable households, market assessment in each area, apprenticeships and job search support as well as linkages to financial services. For quality education, the activity will include education vents with caregivers and community leaders, block grants for school access, referral to other education programs for school material and advocacy for free scholarship for OVC. Healthcare will be for adolescent peer groups for life skills and participation in health fairs and wellness days.
The activity linked to psychosocial wellbeing includes home visits and mental health referrals. For Child Protection, there will be information campaign with community health events such as birth registration and case-by-case support such as financial assistance. In terms of nutrition, there will be screening of all household members, referrals for services and nutrition education in the community at wellness days.
For the activity under care and shelter, there will be referrals for specific services and financial support for emergency needs.
By the end of the project, 80% of CBOs and the 10 DHMTs and 4 RHMTs will be “graduated” as proficient in the main management and technical areas.