Assessing the experiences and needs of women who use drugs in accessing health care and support services: A Multi-Country Study in Asia

Title: Assessing the experiences and needs of women who use drugs in accessing health care and support services: A Multi-Country Study in Asia.

Period: October 2016 to December 2018

Total Budget: USD 73,430

Coverage: Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Philippines, India and Nepal

Status: Active

Supported by: UNAIDS Asia-Pacific Regional Support Team (Technical Support Facility)

Project Summary

ANPUD, with support from UNAIDS, and in collaboration with national networks of people who use drugs/Women who Use Drugs (WUD), launched a qualitative study in Fast Track and priority countries namely India, Indonesia, Nepal, and Viet Nam in the region.  Ms. Claudia Stoicescu is the lead consultant of this project. Two Peer researchers from each country are recruited to collect primary data on the experiences, needs, and barriers to accessing services faced by women who inject drugs within healthcare settings using Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) and in-depth interviews.

The study consists of two phases, which in turn comprise several processes, as illustrated in the figure below:

Phase One included the development of a comprehensive review of regional evidence synthesizing international, regional and national contexts shaping access to healthcare settings for women who inject drugs, and reviewing existing regional evidence on barriers to service accessibility in Asia. The desk-based review informed the development of three sets of study instruments at the regional level for consistency and comparability across all four countries.

  • Instrument 1: questionnaire guide for focus group discussions with women who inject drugs
  • Instrument 2: questionnaire guide for in-depth interviews with women who inject drugs
  • Instrument 3: in-depth interviews with key national stakeholders.

In addition, a Regional Steering Committee comprised of regional experts in the fields of drug use, harm reduction, HIV, and gender has been established to ensure the high quality of outputs and publications related to the project. The Regional Steering Committee will provide a mechanism through which technical input can be sought on study instruments and outputs.

Finally, as part of Phase One, ANPUD held a regional training workshop in Bangkok, Thailand on 21-25 November, 2016. The workshop brought together peer researchers from India, Indonesia, Nepal and Vietnam with the goal of introducing the multi-country research, facilitating participant input on the study aims and instruments, and preparing participants to conduct data collection. This included supporting participants to recognise the skills and experience they bring to the project as peers, facilitate meaningful understanding of the research requirements and aims, developing the capacity and skills necessary to carry out the research, workshopping the study instruments, building peers’ confidence in leading a research study, and reflecting on the research experience and how to transfer skills and knowledge beyond this study. Two peer researchers representing national/local networks of people who use drugs from each of the target countries participated in the workshop and will be leading on study implementation in Phase Two. The training culminated in country plan presentations that summarized the skills and work completed in each country teams during the first three days of the workshop. The country plan also included detailed logistical information on research implementation sites, project timelines at country level, data management and storage, and transcription and translation of interview recordings post-data collection. Participant recommendations during this workshop have informed the Phase Two proposal outlined below.

The focus of Phase Two

Phase two builds directly on the work done in the first phase, with a view toward applying systematic analysis, comprehensive community consultation, and strategic dissemination to better understand the experiences and needs of women who inject drugs in Asia. Notably, in phase two countries like Philippines, Cambodia and Thailand have been added to the four countries of phase one (namely Indonesia, Vietnam, Nepal and India).

Objective and aims of Phase two

The main objective of this project is to document and increase awareness of the experiences, needs, and barriers to access faced by women who inject drugs in healthcare settings in selected Fast Track and priority countries in the region. This project seeks to achieve this objective through two specific aims:

  • Conduct a broad community consultation at the regional level to map the experiences and advocacy priorities of women who inject drugs in Asia;
  • Based on the regional community consultation in aim 1, synthesize, update, expand, and disseminate the existing evidence base on barriers to HIV-related health care and support access among women who inject drugs in the region.

The outputs resulting from this project will be disseminated widely through academic, policy, and community channels. The resulting advocacy priorities will also inform ANPUD’s strategic goals and work plan for 2018-2022, and guide the development of long-term organizational goals in relation to building the evidence and capacity of women who use and inject drugs in Asia.

Activities and outputs of Phase two

The following outputs and activities will be implemented under each of the aims above:

Aims Activities Outputs
1) Map the experiences and advocacy priorities of women who inject drugs in Asia. – Three-day regional community consultation and advocacy mapping in Bangkok, Thailand with 20 women from 7 countries (i.e. Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Philippines, Nepal, India). – Summary document outlining the regional priorities and key thematic areas of focus for female peers.
2) Synthesize, update, and expand the existing evidence base on barriers to HIV-related health care and support access among women who inject drugs in Asia. – Update and disseminate existing desk review on barriers to HIV-related services among women who inject drugs in Asia to include the latest evidence;

– Design analyses to be conducted on the largest raw dataset of women who inject drugs in South East Asia (730+ women), with specific focus on three community-driven thematic areas, and draft three scientific papers and corresponding policy briefs/ infographics.

– Three articles submitted to high-impact scientific journals, disseminated to key stakeholders and policy-makers.

-Policy briefs/ infographics produced based on the three thematic articles.

– Online publication and dissemination of desk review on ANPUD and partner websites in policy report format and in article format in high-impact journal, with targeted dissemination to key stakeholders regionally and at country level.

This site is supported by grant from Robert Carr Network Fund (RCNF).

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