Community Voices: Meirinda Sebayang, Indonesia
Chairperson of Indonesia Network of People Living with HIV reflects
Learning, Newsroom, Regional
Meirinda Sebayang, Jaringan Indonesia Positif
As the current chairperson of Jaringan Indonesia Positif, a national network of people living with HIV in Indonesia, Meirinda (or Mei) lent her voice to speak about the situation of HIV programming in her country during the time of COVID-19 outbreak during one of the pre-recorded sessions of the Pre-conference. In addition to the existing stockout of Anti-Retroviral Drugs in the country, the outbreak have disrupted the delivery of life-saving ART to the PLHIV community.
After the Pre-Conference, we invited her to share her thoughts and feedback about the effectiveness of virtual conferencing from the perspective of the community. The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly restricted both in-country and cross-country mobility, making it impossible to convene key populations to strengthen their advocacy. Online meetings and other internet-based activities have been perceived to be the ‘new normal’.
Everyone’s welfare is of the utmost importance in these times of public health emergency. The imposition of social distancing will protect the population from spreading the virus. However, online activities will reduce the human element of the advocacy, especially the interaction between the key populations, and the stakeholders. It must also be highlighted that adapting to new technologies require a period of time to be able to access it properly. Most importantly, if activities are required to go virtual, we need to ensure that key population groups have the required devices and that they have access to stable internet connection.