Local health officials in Smila, about 30 kilometers southwest of Cherkasy, hope to hire social workers who will support residents living with HIV. According to the Cherkasy Regional AIDS Center, Smila has one of the highest levels of HIV/AIDS in the Cherkasy regions, with 33.9 people per 100,000 testing positive.
Funding is currently being identified to support the effort.
Mykola Stuzhenko, head of the health department for the city of Smila, was inspired by a training conducted by “From Heart to Heart” that detailed how to identify funding sources to support social programs that address public health concerns.
Following the training, Stuzhenko decided to introduce social support in the local “Dovira” office.
“During the training, we saw the positive results of the introduction of a social worker to a health facility,” Stuzhenko said. “Namely, we saw an increase in the identification of people who have HIV and that the gap between treatment and those who are already taking ARV therapy is reduced.
Stuzhenko realized that the presence of a social worker increase the level and quality of care.
“In the medical institution, there is always a person who communicates with clients, and observes the timely administration of therapy. At the same time, it unloads the work of physicians, who due to their workload, are not able to provide quality support. We plan to procure social support services in HIV-service organizations, because they have a lot of experience in this area and can work on a peer-to-peer program, which increases the effectiveness of the support.”
The “Dovira” cabinet operates on the basis of the Smilian city policlinic, and now more than 200 people are registered.
The training “Organization of provision of social services in the field of counteracting HIV / AIDS at the expense of budget funds” was held in Cherkasy on April 25-26. The training took place within the framework of the project “Distribution of successful experience of the pilot project constancy of HIV-services in Cherkassy region,” with the support of the USAID project” HIV Reforms in Action.”