Strategy Four: Making HIV Services More Migrant Friendly

Situation:

  • Public hospitals and health centers are bound by legislative frameworks. They often prevent them from offering HIV/AIDS services to migrant populations. These restrictions are not only related to the immigration status of the respective individual, but also to the fact that migrants often work undocumented (both in the formal and the informal sector), which aggravates their opportunities to access healthcare services.
  • Sub-regional reference systems do not exist in the region. This implies that a patient who seeks treatment in country A today, and in country B in three months time, faces the problem that his/her doctor in country B has no insight into the patient’s record of country A, and vice versa.
  • Even at the national level, referral systems are weak. This leads to important information deficiencies, as patients benefiting from prevention and screening services do not always receive information on further support and treatment services. This entails that once these patients identify another service provider, the latter might not be able to trace the patient’s record even at national level.

Approach:

Establishing sub-regional alliances to provide a basic package of services for migrant population wherever they are.

Focused on three main issues:

  1. Defining the package of services
  2. Training of the providers
  3. Strengthening the cooperation and knowledge sharing mechanisms to allow regional and sub-regional alliances to secure cross-country service provision.
  • Emphasizing on regarding migrants in the Caribbean region as a heterogeneous group of people  
  • differing by nationality, mother tongue, age, gender and type of economic activity.
  • placing a specific focus on vulnerable groups, such as commercial sex workers and MSM.
  • one of the central tasks is to define minimum HIV/AIDS service packages which assure the specific needs of each of these migrant groups. And while it is difficult to qualify the content of each particular service package, it is important to underline a set of basic criteria which should be met in this regards:
  • Each package should include a minimum standard for prevention, counseling and treatment services.
  • Each package should include a minimum level of medical, legal, and psycho-social services.
  • Information on the individual service packages should be accessible to the target group at a reasonable price and in a language that can be understood.
  • The focus of the service packages should go beyond HIV&AIDS and include Mother and Child Health, Family Planning, STI, and Accident and Emergency Care services.

 The project will seek to train trainers to allow for the sensitization and training of administrative and technical healthcare staff at all levels within the public, private, and non-profit sector. Curricula development in this regard should concern both the sensitization of medical staff (i.e. the adoption of a rights based approach to medical care and HIV/AIDS service provision), and the strengthening of technical skills to implement a minimum standard of HIV/AIDS services for vulnerable migrant populations.

 

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