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Access to services

Photo : Thomas Haig

Research on access to health services for gbMSM and mobilization among service providers

The starting point of our activities aimed at optimizing access to combination prevention was to conduct an environmental scan of prevention and health services currently offered to gbMSM in the Montreal area. Between August 2016 and September 2017, we collected information in a variety of ways (print and internet sources, phone calls, direct observation) to document the accessibility of 116 services offered by 54 organizations.

We also developed a list of indicators to evaluate the accessibility of the services that identified in the scan. To validate this list and confirm it was appropriate for the Montreal context, we conducted 10 focus groups with community members, service providers and other stakeholders. Participants were also invited to respond to an online consultation. The list of indicators was then used to analyze the results of the environmental scan, allowing us to evaluate the accessibility services and identify promising models and potential synergies for optimizing access to combination prevention.

The preliminary results of this evaluation were presented at a symposium in November 2017 attended by more than 40 stakeholders and health professionals from 22 organizations. Based on the research, we gave and overview of strengths and weaknesses in access to services and participants discussed potential action plans for the future.

Upcoming work

In the next phase of the project, we plan to communicate individually with each of the organizations identified in the scan to share results from the scan for the services they offer and to document internal (within the same organization) and external (with other organizations) links that facilitate access to services for gbMSM. This exchange of information will support the development and implementation of an action plan to optimize and strengthen the organization’s capacity to offer combined prevention services for gbMSM in a coordinated and integrated way. The action plan will include strategies to collaborate on organizational change, strengthen partnerships, and provide training to front-line workers.