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Indonesia's Islamic Schools Adopt HIV Curricula


December 22, 2009

Health Policy Initiative Launches RETA: Resource Estimation Tool for Advocacy

The USAID | Health Policy Initiative in the Greater Mekong Region and China is pleased to announce the release of a new tool to estimate resource needs for scaling up comprehensive HIV prevention programming for men who have sex with men and transgenders. RETA, the Resource Estimation Tool for Advocacy, estimates the resources needed for a five-year period, based on user inputs of population size estimates, target coverage levels, and local costs of HIV prevention services.

December 1, 2009

Health Policy Initiative Commemorates World AIDS Day 2009

Today, December 1, 2009, marks the 21st commemoration of World AIDS Day, with the theme of "Universal Access and Human Rights." Universal access and human rights are inextricably linked. When people living with HIV (PLHIV) and other vulnerable populations experience stigma and discrimination and other violations of their rights, they are discouraged from accessing health services. Therefore, safeguarding human rights is vital to achieving the goal of universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, and care. The attached brief illustrates how Task Order 1 of the USAID | Health Policy Initiative is helping to safeguard human rights and promote equitable access to HIV services in more than 20 countries around the world.

December 1, 2009

Indonesia's Islamic Schools Adopt HIV Curricula

Following more than two years of technical assistance and advocacy by the USAID | Health Policy Initiative, Task Order 1, young people attending Islamic middle schools in East Java Province, Indonesia, are now learning about HIV prevention and stigma reduction.

December 1, 2009

HIV Advocacy in China: Stories from the Field. Strengthening Methadone Maintenance Therapy (MMT)

As China continues to implement its Reform and Opening-Up policy, the number of grassroots community-based organizations (CBOs) eager for involvement and change multiplies. To support China's burgeoning HIV community sector to mobilize, strengthen its leadership, and succeed in bringing about local-level change, the USAID | Health Policy Initiative in the Greater Mekong Region and China (HPI/GMR-C) is building CBO capacity in advocacy and community mobilization. HPI/GMR-C provides training in advocacy, project management, and implementation. The training is followed by small grants to enable CBOs to implement their newly acquired advocacy skills. This series highlights the critical contribution community efforts make to HIV prevention, care, and treatment by exploring the outcome of some of these grants, the lessons learned, and the evolving meaning of advocacy in China. Since this series would be impossible without the enormous contribution and leadership of people living with HIV, the communities most at-risk for HIV, and their partners and families, we thank them for telling their stories. In Mengzi, a small county in Yunnan province, China, the vast majority of drug users are not accessing preventative HIV and injecting drug use services. This brief explores the reasons why and highlights the actions of the Mengzi Kangxin Home Support Group in working to address these issues influencing uptake of services.

November 30, 2009

Resources for Combating Gender-based Violence from the USAID | Health Policy Initiative

November 25 to December 10 mark the "16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence." The USAID | Health Policy Initiative supports policy and advocacy responses to combat gender-based violence (GBV). This work includes integrating gender into national reproductive health and HIV policies, empowering women and girls, promoting constructive men's engagement, and leading innovative approaches to address GBV among men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgenders. The project's resources on combating GBV are listed below.

October 1, 2009

Screening Reveals the Role of Violence in Increasing HIV Vulnerability among MSM and Transgenders

Gender-based violence (GBV) is not only an issue for women. Emotional, physical, and sexual violence is often perpetrated against men who have sex with men (MSM), transgenders, and male sex workers as a form of discrimination against their gender identities. Such violence increases their risk for HIV. However, healthcare providers have been slow to address the issue of GBV among MSM and transgenders—either being unaware of their vulnerability to violence or reluctant to delve into these sensitive issues. A new GBV Screening Tool helps healthcare providers identify MSM and transgenders affected by violence so that they can be linked to appropriate counseling and services.

October 1, 2009

Sindicatos dos Trabalhadores em Moçambique Aderem à Resposta Nacional Contra HIV

Sindicatos reivindicam direitos e negoceiam políticas de HIV no local de trabalho nas negociações colectivas anuais.

October 1, 2009

Labor Unions in Mozambique Join the National Response to HIV

Nearly two-thirds of formal sector workers in Mozambique belong to a labor union. Despite this, while considerable attention has been paid to encouraging private employers in Mozambique to adopt and implement HIV workplace policies and programs, until recently, organized labor had not been involved in efforts to support HIV interventions in the workplace. Collaborating with labor unions complements working with employers to facilitate the private sector response to HIV. This story describes how the Health Policy Initiative partnered with the National Confederation of Free and Independent Labor Unions of Mozambique (CONSILMO), which represents 106,000 members in four affiliated labor unions across Mozambique, to incorporate HIV workplace policies and programs as a standard demand in their collective bargaining efforts.

October 1, 2009

Civil Society Commitment to Collaboration: The Foundation for Effective Advocacy in Chiapas (Mexico)

In Chiapas, Mexico, the USAID | Health Policy Initiative, Task Order 1, has strengthened the capacity of a group of civil society organizations. As a result, the organizations were able to carry out a successful advocacy campaign to halt a proposed measure that would have criminalized transmission of HIV. In response to community mobilization, the Director of the National AIDS Program (CENSIDA) visited Chiapas to meet with the governor. Shortly thereafter, HIV-specific wording was removed from the proposed legislation.

October 1, 2009

Capacity-building Workshop Promotes Civil Society Participation in Mexico's HIV Response

In 2009, the USAID | Health Policy Initiative, Task Order 1, carried out a training to orient civil society organizations to HIV funding mechanisms in Mexico and build capacity in proposal writing. As a result, 12 of the NGOs that participated in the training received funding from the National AIDS Program (CENSIDA) to carry out local HIV prevention activities. The Health Policy Initiative is working with CENSIDA to expand the training for the next round of proposals. A video of the training is available on the CENSIDA website.

September 7, 2009

HPI Welcomes Participants for the WomenLead Training Program

The USAID | Health Policy Initiative, Task Order 1, is pleased to welcome participants for "WomenLead in Repositioning Reproductive Health." The training course will be attended by 27 women leaders from eight countries. The three-week program will be held September 7-25, 2009, in Washington, DC.

September 1, 2009

Rising to the Challenge: Health Policy Initiative Helps HIV-positive Teachers Tackle Stigma and Discrimination in Kenya

While HIV-related stigma is a challenge throughout Kenyan society, it has rendered certain groups particularly vulnerable. Members of particular professions, such as teaching, have been acutely stigmatized because of their positions of trust in the society. Teachers living with HIV have experienced high levels of stigma and discrimination. Many have been forced to resign their posts because of their status. Recently, this situation has begun to change, in part due to the efforts of networks of teachers living with and affected by HIV. With assistance from the USAID | Health Policy Initiative, teachers have come together to support and educate each other about HIV, encourage each other to seek treatment, and advocate for their rights. With the project's training and support, the Kenya Network of Positive Teachers (KENEPOTE) and the Kenya AIDS Network for Post-primary Institutions (KANEPPI) are fighting stigma and discrimination, advocating for teachers' rights, and raising awareness of HIV in their workplaces and communities.

September 1, 2009

Investing Wisely: Health Policy Initiative Helps Kenya Improve Health Financing Policies and Systems

Making adequate healthcare services universally available requires striking a delicate balance between a population's health needs and available resources. It also requires the equitable and efficient allocation and use of those resources. Without proper healthcare financing strategies, no government can hope to successfully meet the health needs of its citizens. This case study describes how Task Order 1 of the USAID | Health Policy Initiative and its predecessor, the POLICY Project, helped to strengthen Kenya's healthcare financing system.

September 1, 2009

Caregivers Come Together: HIV-positive Health Workers Form New Network in Kenya

Healthcare workers are at the heart of Kenya's HIV response; yet, they themselves are vulnerable to HIV infection. Paradoxically, healthcare workers often have restricted access to treatment, care, and support services. While their profession places them in close proximity to those services, it also exposes them to heightened stigma when they test HIV positive, making them more reluctant to seek HIV services. To date, there have been few HIV prevention, treatment, or support services targeted specifically toward healthcare workers. This brief describes how Task Order 1 of the USAID | Health Policy Initiative in Kenya helped HIV-positive health workers come together to form a network to fight stigma and discrimination in the workplace.

September 1, 2009

Demanding Access: Health Policy Initiative Enhances Efforts of HIV Treatment Advocates

Task Order 1 of the USAID | Health Policy Initiative works to foster an enabling environment for equitable access to high-quality health services. A key to the project's success is its commitment to strengthening local advocates and champions. The Kenya Treatment Access Movement (KETAM) is one local partner that has benefitedfrom this support. Together, HPI and KETAM have successfully championed Kenyans' right to access affordable HIV treatment, care, and support services—fending off legal and legislative challenges that threatened to restrict access to these services.

September 1, 2009

Raising a Common Voice: Health Policy Initiative Helps NEPHAK Bring PLHIV Together to Pursue Shared Goals

Founded in 2003, the National Empowerment Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Kenya (NEPHAK) brings together networks of people living with HIV (PLHIV), nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), community-based organizations (CBOs), and individuals to pursue common goals—improving the quality of life of PLHIV and increasing their involvement in the national HIV response. Task Order 1 of the USAID | Health Policy Initiative has supported NEPHAK since 2006. The project's predecessor, the POLICY Project, helped facilitate the network's formation and assisted it during its first two years.This brief describes how the projects' support has helped NEPHAK emerge as a strong, sustainable institution, able to successfully champion the rights of PLHIV and others affected by the epidemic in Kenya.

September 1, 2009

Finding Courage in Faith: Religious Leaders Challenge Stigma and Mobilize a Faith-based Response to HIV in Kenya

Faith and religion are powerful forces in the lives of most Kenyans. The integral role religion plays in people's daily lives places religious leaders in a position of tremendous trust and influence. Unfortunately, instead of serving as places of refuge from stigma for people living with HIV (PLHIV), churches and mosques have often themselves been a source of stigma and discrimination, and religious leaders have been slow to respond to the epidemic. This case study describes how Task Order 1 of the USAID | Health Policy Initiative and its predecessor, the POLICY Project, helped establish Kenya's first national network of HIV-positive and affected religious leaders. Since its establishment in 2004, the network has grown into a strong and influential organization. Its groundbreaking work has paved the way for other national networks of faith leaders, which have sprung up in neighboring countries, including Tanzania and Uganda.

September 1, 2009

Sustaining Policy Change: Health Policy Initiative Helps Foster an Enabling Policy Environment for Reproductive Health in Kenya

For more than 10 years, Task Order 1 of the USAID | Health Policy Initiative and its predecessor, the POLICY Project, have worked closely with government and civil society partners in Kenya to raise the profile of FP/RH issues and foster an enabling policy environment. The projects' efforts have led to the drafting and adoption of key policies and strategies and the mobilization of additional resources for RH. The projects have also helped to raise the profile of FP issues on the national agenda, drawn attention to the RH needs and rights of women living with disabilities, and helped Kenya begin the process of integrating RH and HIV services.

August 10, 2009

Country Ownership Strategies: Leadership Forum on Health Information Systems

Leaders representing the stakeholders of national Health Information Systems (HIS) from seven countries in East Africa will meet in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from August 10 to 12, 2009, for the "Country Ownership Strategies: Leadership Forum on Health Information Systems." The event's goal is to understand the current status and challenges of country information systems and to create a common vision for an effective national HIS. The USAID | Health Policy Initiative, Task Order 1, is one of the organizing partners of the forum.

July 30, 2009

Time to Deliver on Maternal Health and Family Planning Best Practices: White Ribbon Alliances in Asia and the Middle East Make It Happen

White Ribbon Alliances (WRAs) across Asia and the Middle East have become strong advocates for evidence-based strategies to reduce maternal mortality. The USAID | Health Policy Initiative, Task Order 1, has helped to form alliances and support their efforts to scale up family planning (FP) and maternal, neonatal, and child health (MNCH) best practices in the region. This brief highlights the achievements of alliances from Bangladesh, India (Orissa), Indonesia, Pakistan, and Yemen.

July 1, 2009

Making Policies Work for People: HIV Legal Clinics and Hotline in Vietnam Ensure that PLHIV Know and Exercise Their Rights

Beginning in December 2006, the USAID | Health Policy Initiative, Task Order 1, collaborated with in-country partners to establish and operate legal clinics and a hotline as a way to facilitate implementation and monitoring of Vietnam's Law on Prevention and Control of HIV/AIDS, which came into force in January 2007. This success story documents the progress made by those efforts.

July 1, 2009

On the Right Track: Vietnam Adopts Rights-based Policies for HIV Prevention, Treatment, and Care

Over the past five years, Vietnam has notably improved its HIV policy and legal framework. Projects supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)—including the USAID | Health Policy Initiative, Task Order 1 (2005–2009), and its predecessor, the POLICY Project (2002–2006)—have been instrumental in bringing about this change in Vietnam's policy environment. POLICY and the Health Policy Initiative facilitated the adoption and implementation of significant policy instruments, including the national HIV/AIDS strategy, HIV law, and guidelines on treatment, care, and medication-assisted therapy (MAT). These projects offered expertise in policy formulation, coordinated involvement of international and national subject-area experts, and helped to build consensus among policymakers when opinions differed. Acumen in negotiating diverse interests and opinions is essential for overcoming obstacles that can delay or derail the policy process. At each step, the projects also strengthened civil society advocacy capacity and encouraged active participation in the policy process, especially by people living with HIV (PLHIV).

July 1, 2009

Positive Beginnings: Strong Networks in Vietnam Enable People Living with HIV to Take Charge of Their Futures

Vietnam's first case of HIV was detected in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) in 1990. Yet, by 2003, only about 20 small, self-help groups were in existence. These groups were located mainly in the big cities of Hanoi in the north and HCMC in the south. Today, five years later, the situation looks quite different. Now, Vietnam has about 200 groups, of all sizes, spread throughout the country. In 2008—building on the path-breaking efforts of regional coalitions—people living with HIV (PLHIV) came together to form two national networks: the Vietnam Network of People Living with HIV (VNP+) and the Vietnam Positive Women's Network. With a strong, united voice, HIV-positive people are poised to enter a new era of engagement in the national HIV response.

June 30, 2009

Health Policy Initiative Partners with GEN to Host Virtual Forum on "Mobilizing Financial Resources for Contraceptive Security"

MSH's Global Exchange Network for Reproductive Health (GEN) invites you to join a virtual event highlighting "Mobilizing Financial Resources for Contraceptive Security" organized by GEN and the USAID | Health Policy Initiative, Task Order 1. This global virtual event will be held from July 20-24, 2009.

May 29, 2009

Health Policy Initiative's Work on Gender in Mali Featured on IGWG Website

The Health Policy Initiative and IGWG worked together to overcome gender barriers to advancing women's reproductive health in Mali. The IGWG recently featured this work on its website.

May 1, 2009

Islamic Leaders Become a Force for Change in Indonesia's HIV Response

To build support for HIV prevention at the community level in Indonesia, the USAID | Health Policy Initiative, Task Order 1, partnered with two prominent Islamic organizations, Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul Ulama. Focusing on East Java, the project strengthened the HIV advocacy capacity of the organizations' provincial leaders, Syafiq Abdul Mughni and H. Sonhaji Abdussomad, respectively. These leaders have recruited additional HIV champions, forming a team of eight leaders representing district government bodies and different sectors within the Islamic community (including a university and women's group). The team members have become influential advocates for improved HIV responses at the community level. As a result, Muslim communities and organizations have become sensitized to HIV issues, are drafting HIV action plans and incorporating HIV into school curricula, and have committed to forming a network of district-level religious leaders to address HIV.

February 1, 2009

Laying the Foundation: PLHIV in MENA Share Knowledge, Build a Network

The strongest barrier to PLHIV engagement in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has been stigma-related isolation—isolation from each other, from information about HIV, and from the regional and global PLHIV community. The work of the Health Policy Initiative and its partners has given a core group of PLHIV the tools to break the isolation PLHIV face in the region and build a network of support and a path to PLHIV leadership.

January 1, 2009

Bolivian Communities Take Action Against GBV

Bolivian community leaders launch the Avances de Paz (Advances of Peace) movement to prevent GBV using a community-based, grassroots approach.

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