Social, Health and Safety implications of HIV in the Oil and Gas Sector
OIL AND GAS PROJECT
WAAF has been on track to see a decline in HIV prevalence rate among the MARP(MSM & FSW) and in-school youth and community members. Another goal of WAAF’s is to reduce risky social behaviors that drive the spread of HIV and AIDS among community members within fifteen oil and gas communities in three districts of the WesternRegion. Recommendations have been provided for establishment of a referral policy for comprehensive HIV care.
One of the major activities form the third quarter was that marginalized communities, youth and MARPs have received education and information about attitude and practice to reduce risky sexual behaviors. According to the baseline survey, more people are aware ofrisky behavior to a certain level, but only less than twenty percent used their awarenessto ensure that they stay uninfected. Key activities of the third quarter included providing one-on-one education on HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections through peer educators, community mobilization for health screenings. Health education was provided to MSM and FSW via live conferencing.Further activities involved citizenengagement through focus group discussions, starting of establishing school clubs in the senior high girls schools, media engagement, HIV referral network, review meetings and monitoring and evaluation exercises.
Residents in the oil communities have now come to understand the potential health risk the discovery of oil and gas inherently entails. Testing made it possible for more people to know their status, and positive cases have been referred to health centers for further treatment. Individuals from marginalized groups are living a more positive life based on the continuous education they receive through live teleconferencing. Technical support in terms of review trainings and other educational materials have been provided to the peer educators. As far as numbers are concerned, through these educational activities, nine hundred fifty-three males and nine hundred thirty-three females have been reached.
Through the effective referral system, the access to health care facilities has been improved for people living with HIV. Another positive feedback is, that the Ghana AIDS Commission Technical director had requested for a detailed presentation of the proposed referral network for consideration.
WAAF continued in this quarter warranting regular meetings, at least once a week of all project staff so as to determine where we were, where gaps lied and if any changes needed to be made. The bi-monthly workflow analysis also continued ensuring that the project stayed on track in terms of what was going well as well as making changes and coming up with strategies for areas that were deficient.In addition, citizen engagement, media engagement, government agencies involvement, monitoring and evaluation also proved to be very effective and helped achieve some of the results.
As for citizen engagement, the platform created by WAAF involving citizens from various backgrounds, allowed key stakeholders from both government and private agencies to meet and discuss the impact of our project on beneficiaries whilst making contributions as to different approaches (Such as involving Assembly members) that can be adopted to reach out to the less privileged. The involvement of media partners in the workshops enabled a wide network of people get to know more about WAAF’s donors as well as the various activities undertaken by WAAF. This collaboration has also invited opinions from the public on how we can jointly address the potential health implication as a result of the oil and gas activities in Western Region. The involvement of government agencies enabled WAAF to receive technical support in many of our project implementation. Our Monitoring and Evaluation visits created an opportunity to assess the peer educators performance and also to helped us to determine the quality of information provided to the beneficiaries.
In the fourth quarter we aim to maintain effective collaboration with other partner organizations to achieve a common goal: to uncover and educate on the health implications of the oil and gas industry. Furthermore, we are going to continue the works in progress.