Prevention and Control of HIV/AIDS, STIs, and TB

UMCOR health activities

Pharmaceutical Distribution Program
The distribution of pharmaceuticals is UMCOR's longest-running project in Armenia. Since 1994, UMCOR has provided hundreds of clinics throughout the country with essential medicines and medical supplies. These clinics prescribe UMCOR medicines free-of-charge to vulnerable populations. UMCOR is renowned for this type of intervention. Annually, over 115 health posts, clinics, orphanages and schools receive medicines and medical supplies.

The project is supported by the U.S. Department of State and closely coordinated with policy makers and regulators at Armenia's Ministry of Health. The medicines and supplies are received as donations from private institutions such as Interchurch Medical Assistance, Project Hope, Heart To Heart International, and AmeriCares.

Prevention and Control of HIV/AIDS, STIs and TB
Since 2003, with the financial support of the Norwegian Church Aid, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as United Methodist Church Global AIDS Fund, UMCOR has been implementing the “Prevention and Control of HIV/AIDS, STIs, and TB” project. The goal of the project is to reduce the risk of HIV/AIDS, STIs, and TB in rural communities by increasing access to health information and services.

In the framework of the project, the following activities are implemented:

  1. Trainings of local primary health care (PHC) providers on Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT) for HIV, STI management, TB case detection and follow-up of TB patients' treatment;
  2. Free-of-charge services (VCT, STI and TB management) provided in target rural communities by the Mobile Medical Team (comprised of three doctors: STI, TB and laboratory specialists);
  3. Public health education activities including peer education of Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) on HIV/AIDS, STIs and TB prevention, as well as development and distribution of informational materials;
  4. Distribution of condoms to persons at risk.

Over 2,000 Community Health Volunteers have been trained in to provide peer education on HIV/AIDS, STIs and TB prevention.

UMCOR works collaboratively with the Armenian Ministry of Health, the National Center for AIDS Prevention, the National Tuberculosis Program, local government officials, community-based healthcare providers, and other NGOs to implement the Prevention and Control of HIV/AIDS, STIs and TB program.

In addition, UMCOR Armenia actively participates in HIV/TB advocacy activities by organizing events for the AIDS Candlelight Day (May 2Ist), World AIDS Day (December 1), World TB Day (March 24th), and the AIDS Memorial Quilt.

Global Fund and UNAIDS
In April 2005, UMCOR became a member of the Country Coordinating Mechanism of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, as well as the UNAIDS Technical Working Group. These memberships allow UMCOR to be at the forefront of coordination on HIV/AIDS and TB related activities in Armenia. In collaboration with the Armenian National Center for AIDS Prevention (NCAP) and other partners, UMCOR participated in the implementation of "The Second Generation HIV Surveillance in the Republic of Armenia, 2005."

Strengthening Public Health in Armenia
In August 2003, UMCOR signed an agreement with the U.S Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs for the project, “Strengthening Public Health in Armenia.” UMCOR trained Armenian leaders and public health professionals in practical approaches to public health education. Eight individuals, including two UMCOR employees, received training in the U.S. In the framework of the project, UMCOR developed educational brochures and flyers containing public health related information. Among the issues addressed were TB and HIV/AIDS.

Social Transition Program
UMCOR provided health services through its Mobile Medical Teams as part of the USAID-funded Social Transition Program (STP). The first MMT began operating in Gegharkunik Marz in March of 2001. The team consisted of four doctors: a therapist, a pediatrician, a gynecologist and a laboratory specialist. The MMT provided health services to eleven communities in Gegharkunik Marz. The range of health services included medical consultations/counseling, provision of prescribed pharmaceuticals, and laboratory analysis. A second MMT started similar operations in thirteen communities of Lori Marz in January 2003. Within the framework of the STP, UMCOR also implemented a Community Health Care Workers (CHCW) Training Project. In total, 96 CHCWs in eight communities received training on various health topics including topics related to HIV/AIDS and the prevention of STIs and TB.

Prevention and Control of HIV/AIDS, STIs, and TB

Target Areas: 23 rural communities in 4 provinces of Armenia (Aragatsotn, Ararat, Armavir, and Lori)

Project Implementation Period: Phase VI -  January – December 2012
Donor: United Methodist Church Global AIDS Fund

Project Goal: To reduce the risk of HIV/AIDS, STIs, and TB in 23 rural communities in 4 provinces of Armenia by increasing access to health information and services.

Project beneficiaries: People at-risk and community members

Project Objectives:
1.    To raise awareness of HIV/AIDS, STIs and TB through Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) and distribution of informational materials.
2.    To improve access to and quality of preventative clinical services
3.    To prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission

Project Activities:
a)    Community Health Volunteer Training: delivering of three trainings for CHVs on how to conduct peer education in their communities. Training topics are "Prevention of HIV/AIDS," "Prevention of STIs," and "Prevention of HIV/TB Co-infection."

b)    CHV Peer Education: conducting by CHV's peer education on prevention of HIV/AIDS, STIs, and TB among community members with a particular focus on the most vulnerable people (women, youth, and displaced persons). Promotion of healthy sexual behavior including the use of condoms, as well as an emphasis on reducing the stigma towards people living with HIV/AIDS.

c)    Migrant workers training: conducting a one-day training on HIV/AIDS, STIs and TB prevention issues for migrant workers in all 23 villages involved in the Phase VI of the project.

d)    Mobile Medical Team Services: MMT consisting of two medical doctors specializing in STIs and TB, as well as one laboratory specialist, visits eight selected communities once a month during the project period. MMT doctors also provide on-the-job training for personnel at the targeted health clinics to increase their capacity to provide medical services related to HIV, STI and TB care, as well as provide appropriate counseling to patients.

e)    Raising awareness on mother-to-child HIV transmission (MTCT): organizing special training sessions for pregnant women, girls and women of reproductive age in each of the 23 target communities. The training sessions address issues related to prevention of HIV transmission as well as risks of transmitting HIV during pregnancy, delivery and breastfeeding. Trainees receive information about ways of diminishing those risks and on available services in Armenia to reduce MTCT.

f)    Providing HIV testing to pregnant women: conducting by MMT counseling on HIV among pregnant women and take blood samples for further examination at National Center of AIDS Prevention.

Anticipated Achievements:
•   150 CHVs will be trained to conduct health education in 15 communities in four provinces of Armenia: Armavir (vill. Aragats, Arshaluys, Norakert, Tairov); Ararat (Argavand, Mkhchyan, Noramarg, Sayat-Nova); Aragatsotn (Aragatsavan, Shenavan, Kuchak); and Lori (Arevashogh, Jrashen, Mets Parni, Shirakamut). UMCOR will also distribute informational materials through local health clinics in these communities.

•    Increasing access to preventive and clinical services for vulnerable populations through UMCOR's Mobile Medical Team. UMCOR's preliminary assessment of at-risk regions in Armenia determined four communities in Aragatsotn province (Arutch, Kosh, Voskevaz, Ujan), three communities in Armavir province (Geghakert, Griboedov, Khoronk), and one community in Ararat province (village Ararat) where people are at particularly high risk of contracting HIV.

•    Prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (MTCT) through increasing awareness of pregnant women, girls and women of reproductive age and ensuring access of pregnant women to HIV testing in all 23 targeted communities.