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03.04.07

The Advisory Council of the Russian Health Care Foundation approved the results of the tender to select recipients of grant funds earmarked to support teams providing palliative care to people living with HIV/AIDS for the regions of Program Year 2 under the Program: Promoting a Strategic Response to HIV/AIDS Treatment and Care for Vulnerable Populations in the Russian Federation, and the grants were awarded the following organizations:

Kemerovo Regional AIDS and Communicable Disease Control Centre;
Rostov Regional AIDS and Communicable Disease Control Centre;
Sverdlovsk Regional AIDS and Communicable Disease Control Centre;
Anti-AIDS-Prikamye Charity Foundation;
Bashkortostan Regional AIDS and Communicable Disease Control Centre.


29.03.07

D.A. Goliaev, Global Fund Project Director, M.M. Shegai and A.V. Pankratov, Coordinators from the Russian Health Care Foundation, took part a roundtable held to discuss the progress with the on-going initiative for Proactive Coordination to Implement the Three Ones Key Principle of Concerted Action towards Effective and Efficient Fight against HIV in the Russian Federation. The Roundtable was held on March 29, 2007, in Moscow.

The event was part of activities undertaken in response to Order of the Ministry of Health and Social Development of the Russian Federation # 145, dated March 2, 2007, and was supported by the Joint UN Program on HIV/AIDS - Russia.

The Roundtable discussed a broad range of issues in high priority areas of HIV control in the Russian Federation, including strategy development, involvement of related agencies and sectors into the HIV epidemic counteraction, coordination, and monitoring and evaluation system development.

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27.03.07

On March 19 23, 2007, the Saratov Regional Unit of the Russian Stop Alcoholism and Drug Use Charity Foundation (Balakovo) hosted a training seminar on Harm Reduction Project Arrangements and Management. The Seminar was commissioned the Russian Health Care Foundation.

The Seminar organizers invited directors, managers and coordinators from harm reduction projects implemented by a number of organisations under the RHCFs Program: Promoting a Strategic Response to HIV/AIDS Treatment and Care for Vulnerable Populations in the Russian Federation.

The training covered such themes as Outreach Project Management, Harm Reduction Project Management, Project Documentation and Studies/Survey, Advocacy, and some other themes.
It should be noted that many participants viewed the harm reduction concept differently from the trainers which made the Seminar dynamic and animated with a lot of disputes during the training and beyond.

All the participants found the event praiseworthy for its constructive atmosphere which was created owing to the full involvement not only of the trainers, but also of the trainees who willingly shared their experiences, consulted on their projects and tried to draw from the presented information as much as possible.
The Seminar included visits to syringe exchange stations in operation and a CSW-friendly clinic providing a range of services for commercial sex workers, where the participants could talk to medical personnel, look at standard documentation and learn from the experience of such projects.


22.03.07

"The fight against HIV/AIDS is an important matter for me. And as a TV person, I have an influence on the public opinion, therefore, I deem this fight to be my duty, stated Vladimir Pozner, President, Russian TV Academy, hosting the popular Vremena TV Pprogram (the 1st Channel), on March 20, 2007, during a press-conference in Rostov-on-the-Don.

Rostov-on-the-Don was the fourth point for arrival for the Time to Live Tele-Project supported by the Russian Health Care Foundation. Prior to that, the talk-show was broadcast from Irkutsk, Kaliningrad, and Krasnodar. The total number of cities visited by Vladimir Pozner with this project is twenty one. According to the TV journalist, it is the regional TV which is an ideal site for a sincere talk with the audience. To convey the HIV/AIDS threat information to residents of Russian cities, Vladimir Pozner broadcasts these talk-shows through regional TV channels throughout the country and has direct dialogues in the TV studios with representatives of the governments, civil society, medical workers and people living with HIV/AIDS.

In Rostov-on-the-Don, the talk-show focused on the sexual transmission of HIV-infection. And this topic was not randomly chosen: as of today, this route of HIV transmission accounts for 48 % in the total number of HIV-positive cases in Russia as whole, whereas in Rostov, this percentage is close to 70 %.

There are people who are sure that we corrupt the youth through all these talks about HIV prevention. They think that the promotion of condom use pursues financial interests so that more of these products could be sold, says V. Pozner with a bitter smile.

The talk-show invited a mix of participants which had been already tested by V. Pozner and includes representatives from the authorities, the health sector, civil society, the Don Kazak community, volunteers, young people and HIV-positive people. As Vladimir Pozner put it, among the participants, there are people, directly affected with the problem, people involved in efforts to address it, and people with no understanding of problem. The talk-show participants and guests included: A. Bedrik, Vice-Governor of the Rostov Oblast, T. Bykovskaya, Minister of Health of the Rostov Oblast, E. Beketova, Chief Physician of the Regional AIDS Centre, and their total number reached 136 people which the highest number in the history of this project!
The program was broadcast on March 20 at 06:30 p.m. through two channels; and per request of the TV audience, its recording appeared on TV again at 11:00 p.m.

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06.03.07

On March 6, 2007, Corinna Reinicke, Team Leader, HIV/AIDS Team, WHO Office in the Russian Federation, chaired a partner meeting held to discuss Case Management issues.

The meeting participants included representatives from the AIDS Foundation East-West, the PSI Foundation, American International Health Alliance (AIHA), the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the Russian Health Care Foundation and representatives from the PLWHA community.

The discussion covered various approaches to the case management model implementation in the Russian context. It was emphasized that case management is among the most important elements of any service delivery system for people living with HIV. It is critical to have properly and promptly operating services and effective cooperation among them for optimal HIV infection case management.

The meeting participants agreed with the Russian Health Care Foundation to hold another meeting for purposes of coordinating their activities in the Saratov, Samara (City of Tolyatti), Chelyabinsk, Irkutsk Oblasts and St-Petersburg.


26.02.07

On February 22, 2007, a TV team from the TNT channel arrived in Irkutsk to film its programme on HIV in Priangarye (the Angara River Region) as part of the AIDS: Ambulance TV programme series funded by the Russian Health Care Foundation under the Global Fund Project.

We have come to the capital of HIV-infected people, said the TNT TV team referring to Irkutsk. Right upon their arrival, the TV people embarked on their work. First, they visited the Irkutsk Department of the Red Cross Society where the programme producer met and had tea with the HIV-infected person to be interviewed in the future programme (his name is Roman). Roman agreed to appear on TV to discuss his problem without hiding the face. The guests also talked much today.

Unfortunately, there is some underestimation of the problem seriousness on the part of the Irkutsk Oblast Administration. The point is that officials view it as a problem affecting only drug addicts. Alas, it is not so. The HIV epidemic growth should be regarded as a plague affecting all society layers, even the most well-behaved and trouble-free people, as a threat for the national security and a grave demographic problem, said Alexander Pankratov, Project Coordinator from the Russian Health Care Foundation, adding: The regional authorities did not welcome the initiative to make such a TV programme. We did not receive any response to our letter written to ask them for assistance in this endeavour.

The TV team deems such lack of hospitality to be associated with the recent tele-marathon hosted by Vladimir Pozner. The Time to Live Tele-Marathon highlighted the HIV problem in Priangarye; and was also funded by the Russian Health Care Foundation. Some regional officials, physicians and staff of the Federal Service for Drug Trafficking Control got exposed to open criticism during this tele-marathon. Later, it was already the Governor who had a follow-up talk with top officials from respective regional agencies. What has changed since then?
As regards purely administrative steps, one meeting was held to bring all of us together to discuss the issue and identify certain objectives. A major positive shift has occurred in the health sector: even our patients say now that the attitude of medical doctors has improved. And this is the most important achievement as of today, said Pavel Tsikolin, Drug Use and HIV Control Advisor for the Irkutsk Oblast Governor. By the way, it was after the criticism addressed to the Oblast Administration during the Time to Live Tele-Marathon that Pavel Tsikolin from the Crossing of Seven Roads Rehabilitation Centre was appointed by Governor Tishanin to act as his advisor.

To assess the situation in the regional AIDS Centre, the TV team visited it and talked to Boris Tsvetkov, Chief Physician of the Centre who said: Recently, we have managed to increase our staff from 3 specialists up to 30 medical workers. But there are still a lot of problems to be addressed. One of them is lack of space for normal work of the personnel, including their work with patients. There is an urgent need to renovate the first floor of the building made available to accommodate the AIDS Centre. But at the moment, there is no money for it.

On the same day, A. Pankratov had a meeting with S.V. Krut, Vice-Governor of the Irkutsk Oblast, and informed him in detail about the progress of the Global Fund Programme Promoting a Strategic Response to HIV/AIDS Treatment and Care for Vulnerable Populations in the Russian Federation, including its coordination with the National Priority Health Project and the TB and AIDS Control Project financed by the World Bank. In conclusion, S.V. Krut promised to allocate Rbl. 800,000 from the regional budget for purposes of renovating the AIDS Centres premises in an urgent manner.

The TV programme will be broadcasted through the TNT channel on March 9, 2007.


24.02.07

On February 20 22, 2007, a TV broadcasting team worked in Saratov. It was the TNT Channel team producing the AIDS. Ambulance TV programme funded by the Russian Health Care Foundation under a project meant to highlight problems faced by PLWHA in the participating regions of the Global Funds Programme.

On February 20, 2007, a presentation was made to review the progress of the Global Funds Programme in the Saratov Oblast. The audience included representatives from the SaratovOblast Administration, all relevant ministries and agencies, and journalists. The presentation was followed by a press-conference with numerous questions answered by L.P. Potemina, Chief Physician of the Saratov Oblast AIDS Centre, A. Pankratov, Programme Coordinator from the Russian Health Care Foundation, L. Borisekno, Director of the Megapolis Non-Governmental Foundation working with young people, and A. Lysenkov, Host of the AIDS. Ambulance TV Programme.

In response to journalists questions, A. Lysenkov told them how to raise public awareness of AIDS. Such a question arose due to high sensitivity and critical importance of the issue. Moreover, it is vital to timely inform HIV-infected people about the existence of drugs to support the immune system and prolong the life for many years ahead. Now, the Global Funds Programme and the Priority National Health Project are supplying the Saratov Oblast with such drugs in sufficient amounts. Any patient with indications for ARV therapy can receive them in the Regional AIDS Centre. The most important thing is to turn for treatment in time.

To make a TV programme, the team visited the Megapolis Foundation involved in harm reduction activities targeting young populations in the Saratov Oblast, and also travelled to a rehabilitation centre for drug addicts (including HIV-positive ones) in Krasnoarmeisk. During this trip, the TV team was accompanied by L.V. Tverdokhleb, Deputy Minister of Health of the Saratov Oblast. The programme will be broadcasted on March 2, 2007, through the TNT (federal) TV channel.


19.02.07

On February 19 22, 2007, a seminar is held by the Federal AIDS Centre in conjunction with the Russian Health Care Foundation to train specialists in palliative care for people living with HIV/AIDS.

The training audience includes Chief Physicians and Deputy Chief Physicians of Regional AIDS Centres from the six participating regions of program year 2.
The number of seriously physically and mentally handicapped HIV-infected patients is increasingly growing which means an emerging acute need to set up a permanent network of nursing services for such HIV-infected people in inpatient, hospice or home settings.

The seminar is intended to train regional specialists in how to develop a network of palliative care for AIDS patients and psychological support for their relatives during the severe loss periods.

Among trainers for this seminar, there are sisters of mercy from the Nursing Service of the St. Prince Dimitri Sisterhood and Rev. Roman (Batsman), priest from the St. Prince Dimitri Church under City Clinical Hospital # 1 named after N.I. Pirogov.

The training is delivered under the Programme: Promoting a Strategic Response to HIV/AIDS Treatment and Care for Vulnerable Populations in the Russian Federation aimed at reducing the HIV incidence and HIV-related mortality through improved access to prevention, treatment, and psychological and social support for people living with HIV/AIDS, with an emphasis on vulnerable populations.


13.02.07

The Advisory Council of the Russian Health Care Foundation approved the results of the tender to select recipients of grant funds earmarked to deliver trainings in voluntary counselling and testing for medical personnel (communicable disease specialists, obstetricians/gynaecologists, dermatologists/venereal disease specialists, narcologists, psychologists and social workers), for the participating regions of program year 2, and awarded the grants to the following organizations:

AIDS-Free Future Krasnodar Regional Foundation (a Non-Governmental Organisation)
Ulyanovsk Oblast AIDS and Communicable Disease Prevention and Control Centre (a Public Sector Health Institution), Ulyanovsk
Elpis HIV/AIDS Prevention Centre (a self-standing non-commercial organization), Volgograd
Rostov Oblast AIDS and Communicable Disease Prevention and Control Centre (a Public Sector Health Institution), Rostov-on-the-Don
Healthy Russia Foundation
Kemerovo Oblast AIDS and Communicable Disease Prevention and Control Centre (a Public Sector Health Institution), Kemerovo
Anti-AIDS-Prikamye Charity Foundation, Perm



10.02.07

On February 7 9, 2007, A. Pankratov, Programme Coordinator from the Russian Health Care Foundation, visited Rostov-on-the-Don. This visit was part of the efforts to implement the Decision adopted by the Government Panel on HIV Prevention, Diagnosis, and Treatment (dated January 17, 2007) with respect to coordinating actions under the Global Fund Project with those under the HIV, Hepatites B and C Prevention and HIV Detection and Treatment Component of the Priority National Health Project.

A. Pankratov had meetings with A.I. Bedrik, Deputy Governor of the Rostov Oblast, T.Yu. Bykovskaya, Minister of Health of the Rostov Oblast, A.V. Shlyk, Chairman of the Regional Supervisory Committee for the Implementation of Global Funds Programme: Promoting a Strategic Response to HIV/AID -- Treatment and Care for Vulnerable Populations in the Rostov Oblast, and E.V. Beketova, Chief Physician of the Regional AIDS Centre.

It was noted during these meetings that the Rostov Oblast has got actively involved into the programme implementation: specialists from its AIDS Centre participated in 6 trainings in Moscow (provided by the Federal AIDS Centre) and in St-Petersburg. The Oblast has launched a project to support children in need of psychological/pedagogical and medical/social care; received grants for harm reduction programmes, vertical transmission prevention trainings, and trainings in voluntary counselling and testing; and signed a contract for supplying antiretroviral drugs to the Rostov Oblast. The Regional AIDS Centre is working in close cooperation with its partners for the programme implementation: the Most [Bridge] Charity Foundation and the Sparta Support Fund to take care of young drug addicts.

During the visit of the RHCF Programme coordinator to Rostov-on-the-Don, there was also a TNT TV channel team producing the AIDS Ambulance programme which is funded by the Russian Health Care Foundation under the project aimed at highlighting PLWHAs problems in the participating regions of the Global Fund Programme.

On February 9, 2007, a presentation was made to inform representatives from the Rostov Oblast Administration, all stakeholder ministries/agencies and journalists about the progress of the Global Fund Programme in the Rostov Oblast. The presentation was followed by a press-conference with numerous questions answered by V.S. Shlyk, Deputy Minister of Health of the Rostov Oblast, E.V. Beketova, Chief Physician of the Regional AIDS Centre, A. Pankratov, Programme Coordinator from the Russian Health Care Foundation, and A. Lysenkov, Team Leader, AIDS Ambulance TV Programme.


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