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Welcome to the sixth newsletter of Bridging the Gaps - Health and rights for key populations. 
IN THIS EDITION:

New publications

Programme updates

Global level advocacy

From our blog

Bridging the Gaps wants to achieve universal access to HIV/STI prevention, treatment, care and support for sex workers, LGBT people and people who use drugs. These key populations are typically 10 to 20 times more likely to become infected by HIV while only 8% have access to HIV services. In our approach we want to create added value by focusing simultaneously on all 3 key populations and on the crossovers between them in one single programme. Through our newsletter we keep you updated about the activities and results of Bridging the Gaps, which consists of 21 key population projects in 16 countries as well as 4 global advocacy projects.

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NEW PUBLICATION: KEY POPULATIONS IN THE DRIVER’S SEAT

On the road to universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support

This publication includes a selection of activities undertaken and achievements made during the first 28 months of the Bridging the Gaps programme. In the period September 2011-December 2013, the programme reached almost 700,000 sex workers, LGBT people and people who use drugs, with services that met their needs. At the same time, much-needed advocacy work is done at the global level. These are the results of an impressive joint effort by over 80 local partners in sixteen countries working together with global networks and Dutch partners, to achieve universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care, and support for key populations, and to have their rights fully respected. The worldwide programme demonstrates the added value of working together with three key populations simultaneously, ensuring a holistic approach that is centred on both human rights and health, and linking community work with global advocacy. <Read the publication on our website>

BUCKLE UP AND JOIN THE RIDE WITH US TOWARDS UNIVERSAL ACCESS FOR KEY POPULATIONS AT THE INTERNATIONAL AIDS CONFERENCE IN MELBOURNE

Are you attending the International AIDS Conference from 20-25 July in Melbourne, Australia? Are you committed to achieving universal access? Are you committed to respected human rights for everybody? Are you curious about local and global good practices in working with key populations? Then don’t miss out on our breakfast meeting: Key populations in the driver’s seat – on the road to universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support.
When? Thursday 24 July from 7.00-8.30 am (delicious and healthy breakfast included!)
Where? Room 111-112, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre
Chaired by Luiz Loures (UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director) and co-chaired by Lambert Grijns (Special Ambassador for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights & HIV/AIDS, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Netherlands), this is the key population session that you cannot miss!  Check out our website for <a full overview of our activities>

TRIPARTITE PARTNERSHIP WITH UNAIDS AND THE DUTCH MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS KICKS OFF WITH FIELD VISITS IN KENYA AND UKRAINE

An interview with Anke van Dam and Sally Hendriks

Bridging the Gaps is one of the civil society partners in a new partnership with UNAIDS and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands. In four pilot countries (Kenya, Ukraine, South Africa and Indonesia) the tripartite is looking to reduce violence; improve access to health services; and enhance possibilities of collaboration with the aim of enhancing the impact of different programmes working with key populations. In order to develop a road map for further collaboration within this tripartite, stakeholder meetings took place in Kenya and Ukraine. We spoke to Anke van Dam (AIDS Foundation East-West, involved in the Bridging the Gaps project for people who use drugs and Sally Hendriks (Aids Fonds, involved in the Bridging the Gaps sex workers project) who both participated in these stakeholder meetings. <Read the interview with Anke and Sally>

TAKING TO THE GLOBAL STAGE TO BRING JUSTICE FOR PEOPLE LIVING WITH HEPATITIS

In May, a new hepatitis resolution was passed at the World Health Assembly (WHA). Four years after introducing its first viral hepatitis resolution, the new resolution commits the WHO and United Nations member states to urgent action to address the global hepatitis pandemic, including that of hepatitis C virus (HCV). For the first time, it also calls on the WHO and member states to place viral hepatitis higher up the agenda. This marks a growing global civil society movement recognizing the increasing threats that HCV poses, particularly to key populations, including people living with HIV. The Bridging the Gaps programme has played its part in supporting the Global Advocacy partners, who have been empowered to participate in and advocate at meetings leading up to the new resolution. <Read more>

BLOG: NOTHING IS EVER WHAT IT SEEMS
Guest blog by Thirza and Mariette, programme officers sex workers project Aids Fonds

We are sitting in the waiting room of the Roadside Wellness Centre (RWC). Through the door we see women in colourful kangas preparing food. One lady is preparing chapatti on a little stove. Under a big tree an elderly lady is rinsing plates and cups in a bucket. Men are eating and laughing, a skinny cat steals some bones from under the table. If you wouldn’t know any better this looks like the perfect place to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon. Slowly the smell of gasoline enters our noses. A loud claxon reminds us we are at the harbour of Dar es Salaam. A big truck with a large sea container parks in front of the wellness centre. <Read full blog story by Thirza and Mariette>

 

BLOGGERS BOOKLET: WE ARE BRIDGING THE GAPS!

Elliot from South Africa, Bijay from Nepal, Dayana from Costa Rica, Natalia from Ukraine, Edo from Indonesia,  Anastacia from the UK, Inna from Tajikistan, Lady from Botswana, Akber from Pakistan, An My from Vietnam, Nodari from Georgia and Esther from Kenya. The people presented in this booklet have one thing in common: They are key in the global HIV response! We have collated the stories of our bloggers in this booklet ‘We are bridging the Gaps!’. <Read the booklet online>

BRIDGING THE GAPS WELL ON ITS WAY TO IMPROVE THE HEALTH AND RIGHTS OF KEY POPULATIONS

Recommendations from the mid-term evaluation of the largest key population programme in the world

Bridging the Gaps is well on its way make significant contributions to its five key objectives. It delivers extremely relevant services to key populations at a large number of locations in difficult settings. These are some of the overall conclusions of a participatory mid-term evaluation that was conducted to inform Bridging the Gaps on possible improvements for the remainder of the programme period, and beyond. The programme was and still is relevant at a global level. Work with key populations tends to be underfunded and warrants special attention. The report of the mid-term evaluation therefore also suggests to develop a programme proposal with all partners to build on the extremely relevant work that is done in the current programme period (2011-2015). The full mid-term evaluation report can be found on our website, as well as a summary in English, Spanish and Russian.

STRENGTHENING COLLABORATION TOWARDS NON-DISCRIMINATORY HEALTH SERVICES FOR LGBT PEOPLE IN SOUTHERN AND EAST AFRICA

58 people representing LGBT organisations, health care professionals and policy makers from across Southern and East Africa (South Africa, Swaziland, Lesotho, Malawi, Kenya, Tanzania, Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Mozambique) jointly planned for concrete actions to strengthen collaboration on competent, sensitized and non-discriminatory health services for LGBT people. This is one of the outcomes of a regional round table on sensitization of service providers organised by our implementing partner COC Netherlands. <Read more>

MOVING TOWARDS SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH AND HIV INTEGRATION IN NEPAL

Youth Vision, one of Mainline’s Nepalese partners in the Bridging the Gaps project for People who Use Drugs recently submitted recommendations to integrate sexual and reproductive health with HIV services to the District Public Health Office in Lalitpur, Nepal. Primarily focusing on drug abuse and HIV/AIDS, Youth Vision  has  implemented wide ranges of programmes including prevention, care, harm reduction, (substitution) treatment, rehabilitation, and support to people who use drugs, people living with HIV and their families. Moreover, Youth Vision is working to create a more supporting environment for these people in Nepalese society. Guided by its extensive experience in this regard, Youth Vision strongly believes that at present it is a must to integrate HIV services with services related to sexual and reproductive health(SRH). <Read more>

BLOG: SEX WORKERS STAND UP FOR THE RIGHTS OF EVERYBODY

Guest blog by Daisy Nakato, Sex Worker and co-founder of Wonetha, the largest human rights organization of Sex Workers in Uganda

It is sad to see how the worldwide discussion about sex work and sex trafficking is blurred by prejudices and moralistic mists. Human trafficking and sex slavery is horrific. But it's inaccurate and disrespectful to assume that all sex workers are victims who need to be rescued. Rescue operations and police-raids, often do more harm than good. In many countries, they provide police more opportunities to invade our privacy, abuse and detain us, for example in so called "rehabilitation" centers that function more like prisons. Such rescue operations make sex workers even more afraid of police, and for health care facilities. <Read Daisy’s full blog story>

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