We are working as volunteers in Tank Arm forte, MR5 of MOND since 2007 for Smiling Family Program (SFP). SFP provide HIV/AIDS/STI and RH intervention to military families in Battambang, Banteay Meanchey and Kamong Cham provinces through CHED in partnership with Family Health International (FHI) with funding from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria round 5.
Our main role and responsibility to have military wives keep busy schedules; individual discussions would not be feasible, regular schedule of structure for education discussion activities with women. We have organizing monthly in each target location, and every quarter for couple's sessions which facilitated with other PF through awareness raising activities. The military couples have got to understand about the issues around HIV/AIDS, STI and RH and people started changing their attitude among military family. The military family got education through monthly mentoring session education, couple session and other events in the battalion. We also had participated in training for capacity building in communication and facilitation in order to support poor military families and to carry out activities in the battalion. The main purpose of the SFP, to reduce the risk of HIV/STIs transmission among military family members and adopt safer sex practices according to the ABC approach, to ensure the accessibility and promote the use of condoms among military couples, especially for dual protection, to increase accessibility and use of health services for counseling and testing, STI and RH among military couples.
In recognition of the progress made by SFP so far in the response to HIV/AIDS among uniformed services, the following set of recommendations suggests actions that could further strengthen the response:
1. SFP is a unique project, addressing couples for health seeking behavior and empowering women for open discussion with their spouse on SRH. The recognition from MOND and NAA and especially from Lok Chum Teav Bun Rany Hun Sen would advocate for the expansion of this project to the couples who are at risk and vulnerable to HIV and AIDS .
2. The SFP have made significant progress in implementing various activities to address HIV/AIDS among uniformed services. However more efforts should be made to create an enabling environment which is more gender sensitive.
3. At regional, provincial and local level, SFP is gaining a strong support from the commanders and local authority. However, SFP should resolve some administrative issues which are cause of miss-communication between national and sub-national level for better dissemination of routine report of the SFP.
4. There is no doubt that more condoms are used among couple. However, more efforts should be made to create a good understanding about the promotion of condom use among spouses. With very good knowledge on reproductive health and gender balance, spouse should be able to decide whether condom should or should not be used.
We would like to extend special thanks and extend our heartfelt appreciate and insight and enthusiasm with participation and supportive to the activities. Finally, we wish your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen with four gems of Buddhist Blessing.