5-6 June 2012- Monitoring Visit to Khorasan Razavi Province: Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS Projects
In the context of a monitoring visit to the HIV/AIDS and TB projects activities in Khorasan Razavi Province, a UNDP team, led by Mr. Sanaka Samarasinha, Senior Advisor to the UNDP Resident Representative, visited Mashhad, the provincial capital, on 5-6 June 2012. The visit aimed to monitor progress of the Tuberculosis & HIV/AIDS projects in Mashhad and discuss with local authorities the progress and challenges of the projects.
The team also visited the Central Prison of Mashhad, the health infrastructure of which has been significantly improved with the assistance of the Global Fund projects. The facilities include quarantine wards and isolation rooms for early detection and isolation of infected inmates, Directly Observed Treatment Short-course (DOTS) services to TB patients, and a Triangular Clinic (TC) to provide training, prevention and care for HIV affected inmates. According to the evaluations of Iran Prison Organization in 2010 services in Triangular Clinic were of the highest quality in the country. The TC maintains electronic files for personal health history of clients to monitor the health status of each prisoner closely. Training sessions for prisoners and their family members are conducted and repeated periodically during their period of stay in the prison, as part of the GFATM projects activities.
The mission also visited a Positive Club run by an NGO - Reyhaneh Alnabi Institute- and interviewed a number of HIV-positive club members. The Positive Club provides a range of services, focused mainly on psychosocial support: organizing HIV-related educational programmes, counseling, group therapy entrepreneurship, Leisure, sports and the like. Mashhad Positive Club started its work in 2007 in line with “positive prevention strategy” which emphasizes on more participation of People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV) in HIV/AIDS control programs and also PLHIV empowerment. It is currently providing more than 40 PLHIV and 30 affected-by-HIV members with its services, supported by Global Fund projects.
Under the HIV/AIDS project, the team visited Mashhad Central Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT) Center. Rapid HIV Test outfits -one of the most reliable and fastest testing methods that illustrate results within 30 minutes- have been piloted in Khorasan Razavi province since October 2011. So far 672 people are tested with Rapid Tests in different cities of the province.
Antiretroviral drugs (ARV) - used to treat infections by retroviruses, primarily HIV- are distributed among PLHIV. Procurement of second line ARVs for HIV positive a patient in need has been planned and implemented successfully so far. The patients receive care and treatment including ARVs from Mashhad University of Medical Sciences. Most of used second line ARVs in the country are procured by UNDP using the GF provided fund and sent to Center for Disease Control (CDC) and distributed among different provinces based on their needs. Based on the latest report of 1st May 2012, total number of 3,000 people are covered by ARV medicines (first and second line) for treatment, from which 423 patients receive alternative regimens supported by GFATM and total number of patients receiving second line ARV medicines are 487 out of which 244 persons are covered by GF.
As part of the visit, UNDP team visited the drug susceptibility testing (DST) laboratory established in Shariati Hospital with the help of the projct. In this laboratory advanced technical tests are now being carried out to provide better services to local beneficiaries. The mission also visited one of the peripheral Health Centers in Mashhad where Directly Observed Treatment Short-course (DOTS) services are provided to local beneficiaries, mainly inhabitants of a marginal urban area including Afghan migrants.