Elena German, Capacity Building Coordinator at ECOM, spoke at the webinar Safe Digital Assistance: How to Organize Effective and Safe Online HIV Services for Key Populations during the International AIDS Conference, AIDS 2022, currently taking place in Montreal.
The COVID-19 pandemic affected not only health, but also the delivery of HIV prevention services to key populations. During quarantine and lockdown, clients could not come to the office and community center of organizations, so organizations started to provide services online and remotely.
The Eastern Europe and Central Asia region has built up an abundance of practices to deliver services online, and the Regional Consortium conducted an online study to describe them.
We received 60 responses from 44 organizations from 14 countries in the Eastern Europe and Central Asia region and learned what services they were able to shift to online and provide remotely, and described their best practices. Among them were: online consulting, online outreach, condom vending machines, telemedicine, etc.
The barriers that we identified in our research are the lack of technical support and untrained employees. They are well familiar with street outreach, but web outreach has many peculiarities and differences. Therefore, in order to overcome these barriers, EHRA and we, as members of the regional consortium, have developed an online course for social workers — Digital Assistance: A Training Course on Delivering Digital Services to Key Populations
At the conference Elena German presented the achievements of the EECA region regarding online prevention, shared the practices ECOM is already using in its work, and together with her colleagues spoke in detail about this online course.