Youth for Health Experience on C19RM

By September 16, 2021 September 17th, 2021 Advocacy, Regional

Contributor :
Youth for Health Center

It was great news that the submitted request was approved, that people living with HIV will be supported. Food supply will play a crucial role for the health and life quality of key populations.

The Global Fund established the COVID-19 response mechanism (C19RM) in 2020 to support countries to respond to COVID-19, and funds the following areas:

  • COVID-19 response;
  • COVID-19 related adaptation of programs to fight HIV, tuberculosis and malaria; and
  • Strengthening health and community systems.

    In the funding request development, there needs to be effective and meaningful key population engagement.

    Youth for Health in Monglia, has kindly shared their experience on the C19RM.

Update on the COVID-19 situation in Mongolia, and the needs of key populations

Up until 15 September 2021, Mongolia has reported 2,939 new daily confirmed cases, accumulated 263,446 confirmed cases and 1,066 coronavirus-related deaths according to Reuters. 67 percent, or  2,185, 468 , received the first dose and 61 per cent, or 1,987,603 people, received the 2nd dose of the vaccine. Lately the delta variant has been recorded, and according to epidemiologists, in mid- September, the number of infected people will reach its peak. During the lockdown and curfew, key populations weren’t able to see a doctor for treatment, or meet with outreach workers to receive health services. Also, it was difficult for community members during lockdown, in terms of physical and mental wellbeing, and during which they didn’t had a chance to meet with psychologists. 

How was Youth for Health involved in the C19RM processes in Mongolia, and how were key populations were involved?

At first CCM made an introductory meeting on C19RM funding to NGOs that can be engaged in the Global Fund. A temporary working group on C19RM funding proposal was set up with initiative of Country Coordinating Mechanism and Program Coordinating Unit. The working group organized serial discussion meeting engaging most impacted communities by Covid-19 and civil society organizations such as Youth for Health, Perfect Ladies, Youth Lead, Impact Mongolia, LGBT Center etc.

NGOs and the Mongolia National Center for Communicable Diseases (NCCD) organized several discussions individually and cooperatively. NGOs made meeting with Key Populations and people living with HIV community. From the meetings, each NGO then handed some recommended activities to the working group. The working group then questioned us on each activity we planned. Youth for Health clarified and responded to the questions. The working group with the CCM then developed final proposal.

What was the outcome of the C19RM request?

It was great news that the submitted request was approved, that people living with HIV will be supported. Food supply will play a crucial role for the health and life quality of key populations. 

13 activities were proposed and submitted and 9 of them are approved as follows:

  1. Personal protection equipment’s for health care workers and outreach workers of MSM and TG community
  2. Development of digital contents for scale up HIV testing and boost via social networks
  3. Scale up psychosocial and mental counseling for PLHIV
  4. To reach KP vulnerable to HIV and distributing IEC materials with livelihood support for key populations who lost their jobs and facing economic difficulties during the restrictions of COVID-19
  5. To provide livelihood support for PLHIV including nutritional and food package
  6. Creating interactive training content related to Covid-19 and health and delivering the training during pandemic. General training, prevention HIV and STI, empowering outreaches, training for PLHIV, HTC training and psychosocial well-being training during the pandemic and recovery
  7. Procurement of Covid-19 rapid test kits for MSM and TG
  8. Improving the organization’s infection control regime and service quality for MSM community center

Creating a mobile application to share information among MSM including young MSM and TG.

What went well, and what could be improved? 

During Covid-19 pandemic key populations were highly impacted by outbreak especially on psychosocial health and their livelihoods. Moreover, there were gaps delivering health service and HIV testing interventions. We need more support on these.

We are currently waiting for the funds from the COVID-19 response mechanism (C19RM) to come through our organization. In the meantime, we have developed a detailed plan. Due to the current pandemic and local government restrictions, we are conducting online training and using virtual platforms to provide and disseminate information for key populations. In addition, we are aiming to expand our reach out area and increase the number of HIV testing. We consider virtual interventions as crucial for filling the service gap for key populations during the pandemic, and the increasing number of infections. In order to mitigate the risks of infection, and to provide a safer environment for the community, we have purchased infection control equipment. Also, supplying food, vitamin supplements and mental support for people living with HIV, has been a timely and on point activity. 

Virtual interventions are playing an important role for the organization to fulfill our duties. However, this type of intervention and activities are still new for us, and therefore we are facing some difficulties, due to lack of technical and methodological expertise. It is necessary to have guidance and recommendations from experts and learn from experiences from other countries Currently we are attending training on virtual HIV intervention from FHI 360 which is very useful for us. However, we think that that the training agenda needs to be reviewed based on the background of audiences.

Any message to the Global Fund on the C19RM?

We are deeply grateful for all the support the Global Fund is providing to prevent, mitigate the risk for Key Populations and for continuous support to people living with HIV. During the quarantine, information about the Youth for Health was disseminated to the public through our official website. Based on the needs of clients, a doctor or a psychologist can be contacted by phone or online calls. A package of condoms and lubricant were prepared and distributed to the public. In addition, masks and hand sanitisers are distributed during trainings, group meetings and community activities.

Interested to hear more about C19RM experience in other countries?

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