Project Nakshatra, a public private partnership, was implemented by AIDS Prevention and Control Project (APAC) - Voluntary Health Services (VHS) with the technical support of SAATHII. The project operated in Tamil Nadu to expand access to HIV and STI services for PLHIV and most at-risk populations (MARPs) by involving health care providers from the private sector. SAATHII provided technical assistance by building the capacity of health care providers, system strengthening of the private health facilities, and networking. TANSACS supplied STI syndromic management drugs to the Nakshatra facilities.
The project was implemented from October 2008 to September 2010 and covered 112 facilities (95 clinics and 17 hospitals) in seven districts of TamilNadu, including Trichy, Kanchipuram, Villupuram, Karur, Kanyakumari, Tirunelveli and Tuticorin. These facilities were selected in consultation with MARPs and PLHIV. Major achievements include:
- Training of Health Care Workers: 134 medical and 180 paramedical staff from the Nakshatra facilities were trained on comprehensive STI and HIV care, based on the NACO HIV curriculum with additional content on STI and issues of the high-risk groups and the WHO’s Integrated Management of Adolescent and Adult Illness (IMAI) guidelines.
- Facility strengthening: Based on needs identified through facility assessment, the Nakshatra facilities were provided with necessary equipment and supplies for quality STI care including speculum and proctoscope for genital examination, equipment for minor surgical procedures, curtains for privacy, hand towels, and height/weight machines. The facilities were also branded with name boards using standard colors and the Nakshatra logo.
- Establishing documentation and reporting practices across all the Nakshatra facilities, including data on the STI treatment services provided, syndrome classification, treatment provided to PLHIV and MARPs, and referrals made for HIV testing.
- Resource mobilization for uninterrupted supply of STI drugs
- Documentation of good practices completed and submitted to APAC-VHS for dissemination
- Uptake of Treatment services: 3,873 members of MARPs received treatment services from Nakshatra clinics, paying a subsidized consultation fee of Rs. 30 and receiving STI drugs free of cost. By August 2010, the Nakshatra facilities treated 3,653 episodes of STI for female sex workers, 1,066 episodes of STI for men who have sex with men and transgenders. In addition to treatment of MARPs, the Nakshatra facilities provided the following services.
- HIV Counseling and testing for 4,955 antenatal clients and 2,256 members of the general population
- PPTCT services for 34 HIV infected pregnant women
- TB treatment initiation for 435 individuals
- STI treatment services for 3,582 members of the general population, in addition to the MARP
Project Nakshatra received funding from APAC-VHS/USAID