OSSA Addis Ababa is one of the 13 branches of OSSA and it was establish 1997
About The Branch Office
Addis Ababa branch office is one of the 13 branches of organization for social services for AIDS (OSSA) which was established in 1997 to combat the spread of HIV and AIDS and concurrently to provide care and support for Addis Ababa residents infected and affected by the virus. At earlier years of time when the branch office officially began interventions, AIDS had sapped the population of young men and women and severely caused death while most of them were in their productive years. As the extent of epidemic unfolded, misinformation about AIDS and how it is transmitted triggered the widespread fear of contracting the disease. In compliance to the national response to the epidemic, OSSA Addis Ababa branch has been doing its best to persuade the individuals and certain groups of people in the community to bring about behavioral change by providing effective information about the spread of HIV and AIDS and prevention mechanisms.
The action of the branch office includes the development of the prevention programmes aimed at enabling group of people such as young people and sex workers to adopt safer behavior. The involvement of the Anti-AIDS Clubs among the young people and the use of grass-root community setup in HIV response has done a lot in HIV prevention, care and treatment of people infected and affected by the virus. To prevent undesirable consequences, the branch office recognized the importance of avoiding stigma and discrimination caused by HIV/AIDS, and actively intervened in the preservation and promotion of human rights and equal treatment of people regardless of their HIV status.
, Branch Manager
Geographical area covered, 10 sub-cities in Addis Ababa City government with a total population of about 5 millions
Vision, Mission, Goals, Objectives and Values
- HIV Prevention
- Care and Support
- Capacity Building for CBOs and partners
However, the new transformation plan is expected to advance the branch so quickly in status or position of diversifying the programmes beyond the status quo.
- People living with HIV(PLWH)
- Orphans and vulnerable children(OVCs)
- Youth in and out of school
- Sex workers
- General population
Stakeholders and Partners Government Partners:
- Addis Ababa Health Bureau
- Addis Ababa HIV/AIDS Control Office
- Addis Ababa Bureau of Finance and Economy
- Sub city Health offices
- Sub city Finance and Economy
Communities and Associations
- Youth clubs
- PLHIV associations
- Community-based organizations (CBOs)
- Faith-based organizations (FBOs)
- Sex workers association
- Center for Disease Control (CDC)
- The Royal Government of the Netherland (BUZA) through International HIV/AIDS Alliance
OSSA is well known by its long time practice of using volunteer workers, especially in community related service deliveries. The use or dependence on the work of volunteers along with limited number of paid workers to do the community-focused programme has been the unique and basic principle underlying OSSA’s cost effective strategy. In running HIV prevention and health care programming, OSSA Addis Ababa branch has currently deployed 648 community volunteers composed of CBOs, FBOs, women and youth associations and people living with HIV (PLHIVs). Women hold the larger share accounting for 75% of the total number of the volunteers.
Scope of work
Addis Ababa is the vibrant metropolitan city which has huge geographical features and sophistications. Since the city is the hub of massive trade and economic movements, social and cultural diversities, there are numbers of pressing sexually related public health issues facing the residents. Immigrant workers, laborers and casual workers, commercial sex workers are more vulnerable to HIV risks and OSSA’s programme needs to make HIV visible and the factors leading to its spread discussible to reduce such kind of vulnerabilities. OSSA has been operating in ten sub cities of Addis Ababa and highly engaged in persuading individuals and groups to reduce their exposures to such risks by practicing abstinence, using condoms to avoid exchange of bodily fluids and limiting number of sexual partners. So far the programme being implemented by the branch office impart knowledge, counter stigma and discrimination, shifting the minds of people to realize safe behavior change, and progressed on HIV prevention and care and support services.
The prevention programme involves: Mass education, IEC/BCC production and distribution, social mobilization, promotion and distribution of condoms, voluntary counseling and testing (VCT), sexual reproductive health (SRH) as integrated with HIV/AIDS, ART adherence counseling, peer educations and provision of facilities in the drop-in-center.
Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT)
HIV transmission is directly associated with specific risk taking behaviors predominantly existing among the community. These behaviors are influenced by personal and societal factors that determine community’s vulnerability to the risk of HIV infections. As some studies indicate most of the people do not know their HIV status showing immunological evidence of infections. Getting the HIV test is the only way for someone to know his/her HIV status.
With the recognition of this fact, OSSA conducts HIV testing to diagnoses those who are newly infected, to trace previously unrecognized infections and to help those who are not aware of their status and give them mental reliefs. The prominent freestanding and mobile VCT have left the space for newly merged index case testing, the new approach which focuses on entire family testing.
Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH)
OSSA Addis Ababa branch is one of the main branches of OSSA which is progressed more in running the SRH and HIV/AIDS integration. Reproductive health implies that sexually active people are able to have a responsible, satisfying and safer sex including freedom of choice. The young people, both students in schools and those out of schools, young PLHIVs and young commercial sex workers are target communities for OSSA to run the SRH alongside HIV.
Care and Support Programme
As illness mounts in the epidemic, the demand for care and support services concurrently increases. The branch office has been providing care and support for OVCs and PLHIVs. Psychosocial support, home-based health care services, education support for OVCs, etc. are few of the care and support services given to OVCs and PLHIVs. While running the care and support programme, it has been realized that the branch has encountered the following challenges:
- increasing number of destitute orphans and PLHIVs in need of care and support services
- Nutrition support for needy HIV positive children
- inadequate funding for economic empowerments for people infected and affected by the virus
- unreliable funding challenges sustainability
OSSA Addis Ababa branch recognizes that the threat of HIV is real and needs well designed response to control its impact. The branch office has made every effort to make prevention messages more credible and clear. The strategy is needed to fit to the national HIV response in general and OSSA’s overall strategy in particular. The branch uses the following strategies to meet organizational goals and objectives.
- Expend and strengthen youth club and promote peer education in reproductive health and related social problems
- Expend and promote HCT services at all levels
- Promote community home based care and support services
- Capacity building and empowerments of CBOs and FBOs to gradually take over the jobs and run them independently
- Partnership and networking and committed to work with others on the common agendas
- Community mobilization and engagement of volunteers in community focused HIV programmes
- Using the grass root structures and closely working with government health extension workers and health development army, community associations and networks for providing the services.
Key results achieved from the program interventions
- Clients on ART are provided with different care and support packages and able to live more healthy and stable life. More than 98% of clients on ART have good clinical progress, and have shown treatment adherence as a result of regular counseling and follow ups by community volunteers. As a result, AIDS-related deaths have been dramatically dropped.
- Orphan vulnerable children (OVCs) have been reached with a package of nutritional, psychosocial, economic strengthen (IGA) health care and educational support which further includes provision of school uniforms, exercise books, pencils and pens and other necessary school material. This support is creating an enabling environment for orphan vulnerable children to live better life, consistently attain schools and feeling livelihood of success. By this action, the branch is able to improve the school enrolment, attendance and performance of OVCs included under its project.
- Home based care and counseling services are provided to the clients by 648 community volunteers.
- Engaged PLHIVs on the basic skill on small business management and entrepreneurship training and provided start-up capital to help them create their own small business and to slightly come out of this to sustain individual or family incomes.
- Since the beginning of the HCT services through all HCT service modules (freestanding, Mobile, and home based HCT, index case testing) a total of 127,419 (73,593 Male and 53,822 female) got the services. Out of all tasted, 10,750 clients were found to positive (4,157 male and 6,522 female) making the positive rate 8.4%. The male and female positive rate is 5.6% and 12.2% respectively
- Increased community participation in care and support and HIV prevention programmes.