Evidence based interventions in the Philippines

The war on drugs in the Philippines has left a significant impact on the sense of safety of its people. A large number of dead bodies piled up over the last two years. Since then, the Filipino people have been voicing their contradictions against these human rights violations. 

Community-based healthcare organisations have begun making enormous efforts to make the public understand how this violent approach also negatively impacts the access to HIV care in the country. The government has started to listen to these concerns. All that Mainline has been able to do so far is support this advocacy for change - until a fantastic opportunity presented itself in order to make our support more tangible.

Imparting knowledge about evidence based interventions in the Philippines was a nice challenge

In the Philippines, people who use drugs (PWUD) and are living with HIV are scared of seeking help from their healthcare providers. And healthcare providers are in constant dilemma whether or not to report PLHIV who use drugs to the authorities. The Sustained Health Initiatives of the Philippines (SHIP) has been making efforts to resolve these issues.

Their main goal is to increase access to holistic care for People Living with HIV and who use drugs through its capacity-building programme. SHIP collaborated with Mainline in providing lectures on evidence-based interventions to minimise harms associated with drug use during SHIP's training in May 2018. 

Trainer of trainers

It was the perfect opportunity for Mainline to dispatch one of the Indonesian participants in our training-of-training (ToT) programme: Victor Andrean. One of the aims of the ToT programme is to allow Mainline to facilitate our worldwide partner organisations in building their capacity for evidence based interventions. By working with trainers across the world, we can save travel costs and offer trainings to CSOs and other professionals who work with PWUD, even when budgets are tight.

Training in the Philippines

Victor planned an interactive session, including tasks and assessments, on the topic of evidence based interventions as well as motivational interviewing. Mainline trainer Simon Williams provided his support to the training design. Victor’s advocacy skills, which he uses in his daily work for PKNI in Indonesia, were also useful. “Imparting knowledge about evidence based interventions in the Philippines was a nice challenge”, Victor explains about his experience. “The Philippines shares similar war on drugs policies with my country, although the situation in the Philippines is much more serious”.

I can’t wait for my next opportunity to further build upon my training skills!

Moreover, he also had a lot of opportunity to learn more about evidence based interventions in the Philippines. “As a Trainer on behalf of Mainline, it was an amazing three days – including a lot of fun. I learned so much with this group of HIV and Drug Use care providers. There were 49 delegates with 49 different ideas, which means 49 possible ways to provide better health care for Filipinos” says Victor. I can’t wait for my next opportunity to further build upon my training skills!”

Mainline aspires to do more and SHIP acknowledges that more efforts are needed to make people in the Philippines understand that there are better ways to solve problems around drugs. Reducing the harms associated with drug use is significant in curbing the HIV epidemic in the Philippines. Mainline and SHIP are looking into further collaboration and funding for a follow-up to this first collaboration. If you are interested in supporting this aspiration, feel free to contact us.


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