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UNFPA and LEGALIFE held a joint training

June 17-18, 2015, Kyiv: UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund in Ukraine) in cooperation with the League "LEGALIFE" conducted a training on building awareness of sex workers on sexually transmitted infections (STIs) prevention and their familiarization with WHO/UNFPA/NSWP/World Bank advocated approaches to implementation of clinical and support services packages for sex workers

There were 15 participants from 7 regions of Ukraine and 1 participant from Georgia, as well as Andrey Protopopov from UNFPA. Mr. Kossuhin from the UN was the trainer. The purpose of the workshop is to improve capacities of sex workers especially outreach workers and community led organisations of sex workers to address STI issues in line with SWIT (Implementing comprehensive HIV/STI programmes with sex workers).

According to Executive Director of All-Ukrainian League "LEGALIFE" Elena Tsukerman, "all the participants were very satisfied with the level of training, the trainer's preparation level and new knowledge they have acquired."

"The participants discussed a lot about the need to integrate innovative services for sex workers into the existing programs and projects for sex workers, which need to take into account the knowledge of our community members, human rights and sex workers' interests. This means that both the dialogue, equal partnership and joint activities with sex workers should have been accepted by the state, considered relevant, binding and incontestably important for the health of the entire Ukrainian society long ago. Only such action can stop the epidemy", informed Elena.

Elena also said that "the training emphasized the lack of involvement of sex workers in the discussion of these issues, and, as a negative result of this, Ukraine's (almost leading) position in Europe on the tempo of socially dangerous diseases, including tuberculosis and hepatitis was discussed".

Also, according to Elena, "the work done during the training and discussions confirmed the need to strengthen the sex workers' community locally. The work must be carried out with representatives of the Ministry of Health, directly with doctors who provide services to sex workers, and officials (especially from the Ministry of Health) in order to attract their attention to the problems of the Ukrainian society which appeared due to insufficient involvement of sex workers' community into development and implementation of the programs aimed at diagnosis, prevention and treatment of HIV / STI in Ukraine. Also, a lot of participants highlighted the importance of sex workers' presence in trainings for doctors, journalists, joint actions and other advocacy activities held in cooperation with partners and decision makers (in the round tables, seminars, conferences, etc.)".

"As a result of the training, participants gained knowledge and skills that they can transfer to the sex workers after they return home where they will be able to conduct appropriate mini-trainings locally. "The main message the participants of the training took home was: SEX WORKERS' HEALTH IS SOCIATY'S HEALTH", concluded Elena.