Drop-in centres in Bangladesh
ITF translations available: Deutsch
Google free translation: Italiano, Norske, Português, Türk, 中国的, 한국의, Bahasa Melayu, ภาษาไทย, हिंदी, اردو,
தமிழ், Kiswahili, Español, Français, Svenska, Русский, العربية
In Bangladesh the international NGO Care is working with road transport and port workers associations on two HIV/AIDS prevention programmes based around drop-in centres, which are located at truck stops and in the ports.
Dr Asif Chaudury, Care HIV/AIDS coordinator in Bangladesh, points to critical factors in the success of the larger scheme, which covers truck drivers, helpers and rickshaw pullers. First, though the drop-in centres contain health information and basic medical facilities, they are not seen as HIV/AIDS clinics. "They should be places where workers can meet for a rest, a gossip, a game or a cup of tea," he says.
Second, truckers have to pay a small fee to use the drop-in centres, which creates a sense of ownership and helps to ensure sustainability. The fee gets you access to the centre, and the right to treatment, for example for a sexually transmitted disease, at half cost and within seven days. The right to treatment extends also to the wives and children of the trucker concerned.
Outreach workers are trained and based at the drop-in centres. They continue as drivers but are paid to work in outreach for up to seven days at a time, moving around the truck stops, motivating their peers to visit the clinics, and change their behaviour.
At the same time there is ongoing provision of basic education to people who visit the centres, who are encouraged to spread the information to their friends. Each site is managed by a committee including union, vehicle owner and outreach worker representatives.
The scheme is running as a four-year Care-sponsored project, after which time full management and funding responsibility will fall to the trade union and employers. The ports component of the program runs in two major ports in the country and operates on similar lines.