Advocacy is the key
՚՚Positive People Armenian Network՚՚ social NGO with the financial support of Gilead sciences have organized a 7 day long training seminar “Advocacy is the Key”. The training was a follow up project of “STEP-UP: Skills Training to Empower Patients” EATG training Academy which two of the organizations representatives had participated in: Anahit Harutyunyan (President of ՚՚Positive People Armenian Network՚՚ social NGO) and Viken Darakjian(Peer counselor of ՚՚Positive People Armenian Network՚՚ social NGO).The training was initially planned to start in the beginning of 2016, however due to a very long delay in transferring the funds and several other issues the project have started with over a year delay. It was carried out in two phases, first phase was from 11th till 14th of April and the second phase was from 17th till 19th of April 2017 during which 30 participants comprising of activists in the fields of HIV, HCV and TB, representatives of different NGOs working in the mentioned fields and patients have been trained on wide range of topics. It is worth mentioning that trainers who are experts in their field were invited to carry out the training in order to have the maximum impact and to be able to provide up to date answers to all possible questions.
To mention few of the organizations whose experts have conducted the training:
– Positive People Armenian Network social NGO
– Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF
–National Centre for AIDS prevention of RA
-Mission East humanitarian Aid organization, Armenian branch
-Analytical laboratory after academician Emil Gabrielyan, branch of Scientific center of drug and medical technology expertise CJSC
-Nork Infection Clinic Hospital
-TB and me Social – psychological NGO
-AIDS prevention Union NGO
-New Generation Humanitarian NGO
The main objective of this project is to create a strong advocacy group by empowering interested people with all the necessary tools to raise awareness and to change societal attitudes towards PLHIV, HCV and/or TB patients and their right to have access to free treatment and health care, to live a life without stigma and discrimination. As an essential part of this training project, after completing the training program, the participants were expected to organize and/or participate in several memorial days during which they will have their input as advocates in raising the above mentioned issues to the wider public.
First of such events where the participants of this training program have co-organized and attended was the AIDS candlelight memorial day on 21.05.2017, during which the participants of the training had explained the importance of getting regular HIV screening and the importance of prevention and treatment. The participants explained to the public the situation of HIV epidemic in Armenia stressing the importance of having enough financial means allocated by the Ministry of Health to continue all the HIV related medical services and treatment uninterrupted once the Global Fund has ended its program in the country.