HIV positive & no access to treatmentNo access to HIV related informationHIV positive & no medical insuranceI don't understand the languageHIV positive & no papersAway from family & depressed Sex worker but no condoms availableUnable to find an understanding doctor or counsellorFear of being deported if HIV positiveDrug addicted & need to talk to somebodyWhat are my rights?My neighbours don't like foreignersHIV positive & discriminated at work
MiSSA Network Cologne
Ensuring that everyone has an equal opportunity to accessing healthcare, dispelling myths and taboos about HIV/AIDS and ending stigma and discrimination in relation to HIV/AIDS.
Core pillars of MiSSA Netzwerk Köln
This is a team of counsellors tasked with providing migrants in the community with guidance when required and focus on supporting them to make a positive change.
It includes a prevention worker attached to field sites. The prevention worker is in charge of field activities in MiSSA Netzwerk Köln, where he/she develops mobilization strategies and act as a link between the MiSSA Netzwerk Köln and the community members.
3. Peer educators
These are individuals identified as ‚peer leaders‘ and the pace setters for positive example and inspiring others to follow that direction. They help others in their peer group to go through the process of examining and ultimately changing behaviours that put them at risk of HIV infection.
Recognizing the increased vulnerability of women migrants in national AIDS strategies and including programmes to reach mobile populations with effective HIV prevention, treatment, care, and support services.
It is aimed at accelerating positive behaviour change. Health education presents information to target populations on particular health topics, including the health benefits /threats they face, and provides tools to build capacity and support behaviour change in an appropriate setting.
Making condoms widely available through condom distribution programs is integral to successful HIV prevention. It is a prevention strategy that helps increase the availability, accessibility, and acceptability of condoms in an effort to prevent HIV and STI transmission.
Peer education is a powerful strategy to promote positive behaviour change. It provides migrants with facts about sexual and reproductive health, STIs and HIV/AIDS, drugs, and alcohol in order for them to make well informed and healthy choices.
Women migrants employed in lower skilled jobs within the manufacturing, domestic service or entertainment sectors are often undocumented and have little access to health services. This leaves them particularly vulnerable to HIV and they are susceptible to exploitation.
Female migrants in transit may be forced to engage in transactional and unprotected sex to facilitate their border crossing.
Taboo has contributed to no one speaking about HIV/Aids, no one confesses to being affected by it, neither those infected nor their relatives.
Those who know they are infected, prefer to claim they are not suffering from HIV/Aids, some even claim to be bewitched.
MiSSA Netzwerk Köln
MiSSA (Migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa) is a project aimed at and run by migrants from sub-Saharan Africa who are engaged in health improvement and HIV prevention, community sensitization and dispelling myths and taboos about HIV/AIDS.
MiSSA Netzwerk Köln focuses on migrants from sub -Saharan Africa living in and around Cologne. Whatever their diverse reasons for travel, migrants often find themselves separated from their spouses, families, and familiar social and cultural norms. Migration can place migrants in situations of heightened vulnerability to HIV.
They may experience language barrier, substandard living conditions and a lack of social protection such as health insurance and other social security benefits.
The resulting isolation due to social exclusion and stress may lead migrants to engage in risky behaviours, such as unsafe sex or drug use.
MiSSA Netzwerk Köln acts as the contact persons for the communities since migrants are at an increased risk of various health conditions after migration due to social inequalities, structural factors and limited access to health services including HIV prevention, testing and care.