NARVA, Estonia--(BUSINESS WIRE)--On World AIDS Day, the Linda Clinic launched its Patient Advisory Group (PAG). The launch of the group marks an important milestone in the history of the Linda Clinic, a unique community-based HIV clinic in Narva. The Patient Advisory Group offers opportunities for the patients of the clinic to engage in discussions about quality of care issues, provide feedback and advise the clinic management on improving the quality of care, to inform their peers in Ida-Virumaa region about Linda Clinic services and provide a space for HIV related advocacy.
The Linda Clinic is introducing the user-driven care approach in Estonia. User-driven care is an approach to improving health outcomes of individuals who require medical and psychosocial services. The approach ensures that services are patient-centred and defined by immediate users of care with the goal of having health services that can help people with HIV get well and stay well.
"I am extremely pleased that Linda Clinic opens its doors to active and meaningful involvement of HIV patients in the work of the clinic," says Anna Zakowicz, head of the management board of the Linda Clinic. "By doing so we are putting into practice our vision of full engagement of patients as co-producers of health and advocacy for access to the treatment and care they need. I am convinced implementation of the approach will further increase quality, integration and efficiency of services available at Linda Clinic."
AHF Europe and EHPV opened the Linda Clinic in Narva in 2013, which started providing antiretroviral treatment to people living with HIV in late 2015. According to the municipal head doctor, the biggest epidemic in the country is in Narva, with an HIV prevalence of 5%. In the city with a population of 60,000 people, an estimated 2,400 are living with HIV, of which approximately 740 are receiving treatment. The HIV epidemic is an expression of social inequalities that people suffer in daily life, and for people who live with HIV in Narva these are mainly: drug use, high unemployment rates and unstable socio-economic situation. These challenges often affect people’s ability to seek care, initiate HIV treatment and stay in care.
Alexandra Gruzdeva, liaison to the Patient Advisory Group says: "I want to empower our patients. As a patient I know how crucial it is to be in charge of your own care path."
"Right now, the clinic serves 224 clients, out which 195 (86%) patients receive anti-retroviral therapy. We base our work on the Test and Treat approach, actively reach out to the clients with services such as outreach testing and seeking clients to return them to care," said Igor Pshenov, the Linda Clinic manager. "We have a lot of work to do in the region. By actively involving patients into their own care path, we can even more effectively support the patients in HIV care."
On Saturday 3 December from 12.00 to 16.00, the Linda Clinic will open its doors to anyone who wants to learn about what the clinic is doing to serve the community in Narva and the wider Ida Virumaa region. Anyone can get a free rapid HIV test, get acquainted with the Linda Clinic team and learn more about HIV prevention, treatment and care in a friendly and welcoming atmosphere.