People living with HIV in Ratanakiri province, Cambodia are unable to access home-based care in their area which is making it hard for them to stay healthy, an official has said.
Mr Sim Sonlay, director of Ratanakiri Provincial Health Department, said the lack of non governmental organisations providing home-based care programmes provides difficulties for service providers in identifying the location of people living with HIV, following up with services and referrals and collecting research data.
People living with HIV in Rattanakiri currently receive opportunistic infection and antiretroviral services (OI/ARV) in Steung Treng province. It takes much time and money for them to get to Steung Treng, causing some to drop out while others only go irregularly.
There are no official numbers of how many people are living with HIV in Ratanakiri but Mr Sonlay said at least two or three people attending voluntary counselling and testing test positive for HIV every month.
Ms Sann Sokun, coordinator of Mondul Mith Chuy Mith in Steung Treng province, said about 158 people living with HIV from Ratanakiri have come to receive OI/ARV services in there. Of these, 56 have reportedly dropped out while those remaining receive services irregularly.
Establishing home-based care was a main agenda item at a regional technical working group meeting organised by the HIV/AIDS Coordinating Committee (HACC) last month (20 September). A main topic of conversation at the event, which was attended by NGOs with HIV and AIDS programmes in Rattanakiri, Mondulkiri, Steung Treng and Kratie provinces, was the possibility of mobilizing resources to pay for home-based care programmes in Rattanakiri, Mondulkiri and the surrounding areas.
Ms Sin Thorng Lao, program coordinator of Indigenous People Health Action (IPHA) based in Ratanakiri, said IPHA is interested in implementing home-based care programmes and will prepare a document for proposal.
Similarly, Mr Siem Sun, advisor of Indigenous People Health Improvement Association (IPHIA) based in Mondulkiri province, said his organisation will also prepare a proposal for home-based care.
HACC Executive Director Mr Tim Vora said his organisation will help coordinate proposal development and resource mobilization for organisations wishing to implement home-based care.
He called for more NGOs based within and outside Rattanakiri to come forward and consider home-based care programmes.