SAKSHAM, which means “Capable” or “Self-reliant”, is a programme supported by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM). It is the Counselling component of the GFATM Round 7. It is a unique partnership among 38 academic institutions that are working in close coordination with National Aids Control Organization (NACO) & State Aids Prevention and Control Society (SACS) and contributing to the National AIDS Control Programme (NACP). NISWASS is one of the partner institutions and is working in collaboration with Lucknow University and TISS, Mumbai.
NACO envisions an India where persons infected and affected by HIV have access to quality care and treatment. Counselling is perceived to be the key entry point to prevention of HIV infection,and the treatment and care of the infected persons. Counselling done at the Integrated Counselling and Testing Centers (ICTCs) set up by the national programme, makes a difference in controlling the epidemic and providing care and support.
Need for Counselling Supervision
The NACP-III had extended the Counselling services up to the sub district level by constantly training a large number of good quality and skilled counsellors. Besides training them in HIV Counselling, ongoing infield capacity building of these counsellors is essential to ensure that the counsellors do not suffer from burn out and can function as optimally as possible, hence the national programme together with SAKSHAM has developed a Counselling supervision system that mentors and supports the ICTC counsellors working in the field.
Process of Supervision
NISWASS, as a partner institution in this venture, has selected and trained an additional group of 9 Counselling supervisors along with the group of 19 Counselling Supervisors (CS) trained last year for the purpose of carrying out the mandate of Counselling supervision since March, 2011. These CSs keep visiting a total of 99 ICTC centers spread out in the state of Odisha. These quarterly visits have offered support in the process of HIV Counselling at these centers. The knowledge, skills, the process related to Counselling, and the challenges and success stories are captured through a technical process with the help of some ‘tools’ such as ACE, ABC, JOB-SAT, etc..
Besides monitoring and documenting the process of Counselling supervision, SAKSHAM-NISWASS has been conducting the refresher training of the ICTC counsellors periodically as per the request of OSACS.