Operations Research: “A Qualitative Study of the Risks and Vulnerabilities of Filipino Seafarers to HIV Infection and an Assessment of Current Intervention Policies and Programs”

funded by: 
Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria (GFATM)

2007-2008
 
ACHIEVE, with support from Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) through the Tropical Disease Foundation (TDF) and the Department of Health (DOH), conducted an operations research entitled, “A Qualitative Study of the Risks and Vulnerabilities of Filipino Seafarers to HIV Infection and an Assessment of Current Intervention Policies and Programs.” The study aimed to identify the different sexuality and reproductive health risks and vulnerabilities of seafarers and assess the adequacy and effectiveness of current policies and programs for seafarers.
 
The study looked into the life and work at sea e.g. beliefs, norms and practices of male and female seafarers that put them at risk and vulnerable to HIV infection and other reproductive health problems. The findings validated the results of past studies about the types and extent of risks and vulnerabilities of seafarers to HIV infection. The study shows that there is no difference in the level of knowledge on HIV/STI prevention between those who received the information prior to deployment and those who did not. Misconceptions and wrong information on HIV and STI is still glaring, especially on the modes of transmission.
 
The study also assessed the existing programmes for seafarers being implemented by government, NGOs and unions of seafarers.It recommends that Information, Education and Communication and Behavior Change Communication (IEC/BCC) materials should be developed to enhance safer sex practices and healthy lifestyles among seafarers. The study strongly recommends that seafarers should have regular access to health and medical information and services on board. Laws and policies that protect seafarers should be popularized and disseminated. Lastly, systems of monitoring the activities and practices of manning agencies and other service providers should be improved.