Uganda’s key population (KP) response towards HIV epidemic control remains suboptimal, with case identification rates less than 50%, linkage to ART less than 70%, and an inability to track viral load suppression among KPs. There is limited capacity to implement appropriate service delivery models for the different KP sub-populations. Due to the unique needs of KPs, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) are better placed to address their needs since they are closer to and interact frequently with the communities, have a good understanding of their needs and issues, and can provide services directly to them. However, the CSOs have major capacity gaps that need to be addressed in order to make them more effective in the response to the HIV epidemic. They lack coordination, clear strategic objectives and technical capacity to lead HIV service provision. They need to be supported for a more effective response.
Gains in supporting KP led CSOs have been made by the PEPFAR supported local capacity initiative (LCI), the Key population investment fund (KPIF), the PITCH project, Global fund and the PEPFAR supported comprehensive programs. IDI is currently working with over 30 KP CSOs as part of the comprehensive grant and the KPIF. They have undergone organisational capacity assessments, been sub granted successfully, set up community drop in centres (DICEs) and that have contributed to service delivery at community level.
Under this “Strengthening Civil Society Organizations' Capacity and Coordination for Accelerated HIV Epidemic Control in Uganda through Supporting Implementation of Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Prevention and Treatment for Key Populations (KP) under PEPFAR” project, IDI shall utilize a three pronged approach to 1) Strengthen coordination of KP CSOs to advocate for reduced legal, policy and structural barriers to health services. 2) Strengthen CSO capacity to provide layered comprehensive HIV and AIDS services. 3) Functionalise KP community health information management systems for better data utilization at all levels.
IDI shall work directly with KP CSOs with strategic strengths and competencies. These will be supported through IDI-led capacity-building initiatives to receive sub-grants to support community-led KP interventions geared towards delivery of KP friendly care, treatment and support services activities across the seven CDC supported regions of Uganda (Kampala, Soroti, Mubende, Masaka, West-West Nile and Rwenzori). Prior to this engagement, the individual CSOs organisational capacity to manage subgrants and to provide services shall be built. This will be done through formal training, mentorship and supervision. CSO networks will be functionalised to coordinate CSOs and to build collaborations with other partners providing care for KPs. Advocacy for reduced barriers to services will also be supported through assessment of the legal environment, community scorecard activities, gender based violence management and training of law enforcement in sexuality and gender sensitivity. To improve the service delivery, the linkages framework will be used to scale up quality of services across the whole HIV cascade. Community drop in centres are going to be further functionalised to serve as differentiated service models for KPs. IDI shall support timely, accurate, quality and complete KP data collection and increase utilization of data capture tools for efficient monitoring of KP.
IDI shall operate a central CSO coordination dashboard and facilitate healthy and strategic collaborations between KP CSOs and government. It is estimated that 40 CSOs across the CDC regions will be engaged with average funding of $44,500 for this purpose.
IDI is well placed to implement this grant given that is has successfully implemented KP work since 2014.