Rich of a strong collaboration and a common goal of placing HIV infected patients at the heart of the healthcare system in Guinea, our projects PACTES and OPP-ERA organized an important meeting with community leaders defending rights of HIV infected or affected persons in Guinea, on 17 October 2018 at the Donka National Hospital. Indeed, REGAP + (Associations of people infected and affected by HIV network), REFIG (Network of Women infected and affected by HIV) and FEG (Fondation Espoir Guinea) showed great motivation (Forty participants) for this first information, awareness and capacity-building workshop on the importance of viral load testing.
Three sessions structured the workshop: a session on the importance of viral load testing to improve the follow-up of HIV patients under ARV treatment, a presentation on the accessibility of viral load testing in Guinea and a capacity-building sessio on communication and advocacy strategies on viral load testing and, more broadly, on the rights of people living with HIV.
In addition, the workshop was an occasion to share three communication tools with the community leaders : a poster for the promotion of access to viral load testing, a poster on the viral load algorithm and a complete easel for Psychosocial Agents and community mediators. These three tools had already been disseminated in the health centers of Conakry where PACTES and OPP-ERA intervened, but it was essential that these associations get access to them.
As declared by the president of REFIG, and REGAP +, in the end of the working day:
We would like to congratulate Solthis for the constant support and especially for giving us practical communication tools to defend the rights of HIV patients to have access to quality care, through access to the CV exam. We did not all have the same level of CV information and are now ready to step up to a plan for large access to CV. Thank you.
From Solthis’ point of view, the objectives set for this first meeting were achieved:
It was very important to organize this meeting together, because the projects PACTES and OPP-ERA have the same objective: improve the quality care of patients on ART in Guinea. Of course, there are logistical and organizational challenges, but we are delighted that all community leaders have widely endorsed this type of intervention.
As a continuation of the work of PACTES on structuring community response to HIV (participatory diagnosis, launch of an inter-associative collective …) and following the OPP-ERA activities on the stimulation of viral load testing demand, this first workshop with community leaders marks an important step and other joint activities are already planned for the benefit of HIV patients in Guinea.