IAPA Programs in India
The International Alliance for the Prevention of AIDS provides 12 programs in Chennai, India which focus on three areas: HIV Education, Nutrition and Support, and Testing and Treatment.
Summer Internship Program (SIP)
India ranks third in the world for people living with HIV next to South Africa and Nigeria. In Tamil Nadu, through the hard work of many NGOs and volunteers, the prevalence rate of HIV, has come down to 0.35%. But the figures can go up at anytime, if we are complacent. Also, as more than 88% of HIV infections are among the age group of 15-49 years, hence it became imperative that we educate the youth, in schools and colleges, so that no new infections could occur.
Since 2006, IAPA has implemented the Summer Internship Program (SIP), to educate school and University students in Chennai, in scientific facts of HIV/AIDS. This program has been acknowledged by Arizona State University – ASU – as one of the best “Study Abroad Programs”. The Summer Internship Program is one of the most important programs in the IAPA calendar of events.
• Teach an updated, accurate; fact based HIV/AIDS Curriculum in schools, community groups, and other venues within our means, to enable them to protect themselves from HIV.
• Provide a rewarding and enjoyable volunteer program for American as well as Indian students that encourage further involvement in the fight against HIV/AIDS and the development of IAPA’s mission.
• Implement community service projects for IAPA’s partner NGOs/CBOs.
• Develop a committed students to disseminate HIV/AIDS prevention and care & support messages to other students.
SIP Program in India
Interns from Arizona State University (ASU) and the University of Arizona (UA) are recruited, trained in a specially developed curriculum that is entirely scientific, fact-based and gender sensitive, for 6 months, before coming to Chennai. In Chennai teaching skills are honed during the 6 day Joint Orientation, JO. Teaching Groups consist of American interns and Indian Volunteers. During the JO, they also are instructed on: History of India, Indo-US relationship, HIV/AIDS prevention and testing in India, MSM/Transgender construct and experience of people living with HIV and team-building games. Tamil lessons are taken to gain a working knowledge of the language to comfortable be able to interact in Chennai. Also, a marriage demonstration is organized followed by an open discussion between the Interns and Indian Volunteers on topics of sex, dating, marriage, etc. Following the JO teachings and Community Service Projects are implemented until the end of July.
The Interns also participate in two trips outside of Chennai during the middle of the program. This provides a rich culture opportunity that widens the Interns perspective and provides a life changing experience.
The teaching in schools and colleges allows the Interns to see firsthand the impact they are making. Working with the NGOs on Service Projects and meeting community groups including: children and families, tribal people, fishermen community, village people and slum community the Interns come face to face with real India and feel their struggles, problems and joys, which is a great life changing experience.
Mainstreaming HIV/AIDS Project
The Project entitled “Mainstreaming of HIV/AIDS” was started in 2011. Through this project, IAPA provides training to selected NGOs/CBOs working in developmental fields in Tamil Nadu”, every year, so that they would be able to mainstream HIV/AIDS prevention activities in their day to day activities, without extra cost. The goal of the project is to scale up HIV/AIDS awareness programs in Tamil Nadu. At present only particular NGOs/CBOs are working in HIV/AIDS field, but there are many NGOs/CBOs, engaged in a plethora of activities like tribal development, rural development, women empowerment, youth development, environment and so on, who have never received any training or capacity building in HIV/AIDS, but are working with big populations. IAPA felt the need to train these NGOs/CBOs in mainstreaming HIV/AIDS in their activities, so that HIV prevention messages will be disseminated among large populations. A Training Need Assessment was conducted, based on which a curriculum was developed to provide this training to the NGOs/CBOs. During the training the NGOs/CBOs would be asked to develop an “Action Plan” as to how they would be mainstreaming HIV/AIDS in their activities. Follow up visits would be taken up by resource persons and IAPA-India personnel. Since 2011, IAPA is conducting two Mainstreaming training, programs one in Chennai and one in any of the districts of Tamil Nadu, through which 40 personnel from 20 NGOs are being trained , every year. Read more…
Slum Intervention Project
Chennai Corporation has one of the largest clusters of slums in India, where more than 10.8 million people live. They are crowded and unhygienic, with the people not possessing any awareness on diseases and their prevention. State government funded interventions having stopped 10 years ago, has created a vulnerable situation. Hence IAPA decided to conduct HIV/AIDS intervention there. The slum near to IAPA office called Namachivayapuram has been selected. Our field staff have visited the slums and are holding meetings with leaders, to get their support. Next the baseline survey will follow in collaboration with Madras School of Social Work, which will be followed by intervention work, leading to increase in awareness on HIV.AIDS, referrals for STI treatment and testing, among the slum population.
Training of Trainers (ToT) Project
In keeping with the mission of IAPA, that of preventing the spread of HIV through education and volunteerism, the organization envisages creating cadres of trainers or educators who will continue to disseminate HIV prevention messages to the masses. Hence IAPA conducts Training of Trainers (ToT) , a 3-day program in which HIV/AIDS curriculum of the organization is taught in detail to selected students of colleges in Chennai. IAPA conducts two programs in a year, one at the Madras School of Social Work and one at any one of the city colleges. 20 to 30 students are trained in each program, every year.
IAPA Video Project
The video project is a collaboration effort between some Chennai city colleges, Apple Curry studios, a reputed company making ad films and IAPA. Through this project, we enrolled students pursuing degree in Visual Communication, and who are looking out for internship. Then they are given training in HIV/AIDS and asked to come up with a story that would educate young people on HIV/AIDS prevention. The Apple Curry Studio provides all technical support, including the equipment and personnel. So far we have produced 6 videos. Now, we are using all the videos in our HIV/AIDS education. The material produces by youth, for the youth is making quite an impact. After studying the impact, we hope to start producing more videos in the coming years. Read more…
We have formed a WhatsApp group, “Friends of IAPA” in which there are nearly 100 members, mostly past Indian volunteers and college students who took part at IAPA’s ToT programs. Periodcially we send HIV/AIDS news and messages. The members also provide messages and news on HIV/AIDS. We are also sending HIV prevention messages regularly.
Nutrition & Support
Arokiya Children Nutrition Project
The projects goal is to enhance the wellness and prolonging life of the HIV Positive children by providing nutrition supplements in Chennai and the surrounding areas.
“Arokiya” means “health” in Tamil language. The Arokiya Children Nutrition Project of IAPA, is the flagship project of the organization. The project started in February 2011 with 25 children, now has 50 children enrolled as beneficiaries. Forty of the children are in Chennai and 10 in Villupuram district. The children are not attached to any care homes, but live with their mothers or mostly, with their grandmothers, who were their caregivers. Among people living with HIV (PLHIV), Children living with HIV (CLHIV) are the most vulnerable to develop physical and emotional disruptions because of their low immune condition. IAPA decided that the most prioritized service, in HIV care should be concentrated on improving the physical health of the CLHIV, in order to develop strength to live hopefully with their infection status. The Tamil Nadu government provides the life-supporting Anti Retro Viral treatment (ART) for the HIV children free of cost, to enable them to prolong their lives, but the area that is not addressed is the nutrition and emotional support. IAPA envisages filling this gap, through this project, without which the children run the risk of falling into side effects of the ARV drugs, thus seriously compromising their health conditions. On the 2nd Saturdays of every month, the children come to IAPA office, where nutrition supplement items consisting of, health mix powder, cereals, biscuits, groundnut candy, milk powder, fried gram, chenna, are distributed to the children, together with tooth paste and soap. Eggs are also supplied to them, through retailers near their homes. The project monitors the progress of the children through a health record maintained for each child. Height, weight Mid Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) and CD4 count are entered into the record together with relevant medical information of the children. The MUAC indicates the nutrition condition of the children which are also recorded in the health record and compared through color coding, with the standard given by WHO. During the monthly distribution one of IAPA’s Board of Trustees’ member, Dr. Anand, visits and conducts medical check-up on each child and prescribes medicines for them. Our Field Officer and field staff visit the homes of the children periodically and assess their socio economic position, provide training in home-based care and discuss with the children their emotional problems. Every month, the birthdays of the children who are born on that particular month, are also celebrated with cutting of cake and singing. Additionally, as they start to grow up and enter the mainstream of society, they need assistance and support for their higher education. So once a child passes out of high school and enters into college, IAPA provides the fees and educational materials for them to pursue their education. Research papers have been presented at International Conferences in connection with this project. Read more…
Poshak Caregivers’ Project
The Project provides the caregivers of the Arokiya Project children with nutritional provisions, education, training, technical and socioeconomic assistance.
40 women (the caregivers of children in Villupuram not covered by the project) who are either mothers or grandmothers of the children are the beneficiaries of the project. Every month they are given 10 kgs. of rice, dhal, cooking oil, wheat powder, Chenna, two pulses, health mix, Jaggery, green gram and two kinds of dhal. They collect these provisions during the distribution of nutrition to the children of Arokiya project on every first Saturdays of the month. This assistance helps to provide them have at least a square meal a day for the family, as the earnings of the caregivers as maids and small vendors is hardly enough to make both ends meet in this prevailing economical situation. The Caregivers are also provided with education/training on various topics, like home-based care, health & hygiene, nutrition, preparation of nutritious & safe food, with locally available resources. The Project also provides technical and socio-economic assistances to the caregivers, through which IAPA provides funds for repairing of their houses, obtaining eye glasses for blindness and loans & trainings to start income generating micro enterprises.
Annam Adult Nutrition Project
IAPA supports 25 destitute women, who are widows, whose husbands have died of HIV. IAPA provides nutrition and provisions supplements to them every month. IAPA also provides periodical education programs to them in HIV/AIDS, STIs, RTIs, Care & support and Nutrition. Counseling and medical care are given to those who are in need of the same, from time to time. Read more…
Testing & Treatment
There are 2.1 million people living with HIV in India, but how many of them have been treated for HIV is a big question mark. Only when everyone is tested and care provided to them, can we reduce the spread of HIV more effectively. Hence IAPA has started conducting testing camps in collaboration with local NGOs. Testing for HIV goes on throughout the year.
UTHAVI Triage Project
UTHAVI means “help” in Tamil language, but it is the acronym for “Use of Telephone Triage to Help Avert Vulnerable situations in HIV Infected Children”. This is a 24 hour 7 days a week telephone triage network, in which caregivers of HIV positive children, will have 24 hour access via telephone to a trained worker. Thus the project aims to make HIV services readily available for pediatric patients, allowing for better care and increasing the likelihood of treatment without delay. 16 volunteer-students, mostly from the Madras School of Social Work, were given training in triage protocols, that was facilitated by Dr. Swathi, IAPA’s Managing Trustee, with assistance from 2 medical students from UCLA. In the training, they were given the skill, to determine the severity of illness, using algorithms and advise on further management, whenever they receive a call from any of the caregivers. The triage coordinators are now taking calls 24X7 and advising the caregivers and saving many lives. The details of the calls are logged in a specially designed format. The services of the telephone triage project, now limited to the caregivers of the children enrolled in IAPA’s Arokiya Children Nutrition project, will be extended to cover anyone infected with HIV, in the future. Surgeons are being identified to join them in the UTHAVI Triage Project, to create a Triage Network, so that any children requiring urgent surgical procedures can be given the same, 24X7.
Health First Project
This project is a first of its kind initiative in Chennai that partners physicians, residents, medical students and medical training staff from India and UCLA, in USA, to better the understanding and treatment of pediatric diseases. IAPA has signed MoU with Sri Kanchi Kamakodi CHILDS Trust Hospital, Chennai, by which batches of medical students and residents had been accessing the Child Trust hospital and observing the treatments there, since February 2015. Medical students are also accessing Sundaram Medical Foundation, Anna Nagar, Chennai, every year. And more students are signing up to visit Chennai and the hospitals, every year, as this project has greatly benefited the aspiring physicians in the US and the doctors in Chennai.