Public Health Providers to review Guide for planning Outreach to vulnerable
populations

National experts meet to discuss new Outreach Planning Guide

TORONTO, March 11 /CNW/ - Public health experts from across Canada will meet in Toronto March 11 and 12 to review and discuss planning outreach to populations vulnerable to HIV infection and sexually transmitted and blood borne infections (STBBI). The meeting will be hosted by Winnipeg's National Collaborating Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCCID).

Best practices from communicable disease outreach programs across Canada have been assembled into a draft Outreach Planning Guide.

"The guide is aimed at Canadian practitioners who plan outreach for populations most susceptible to harm. These practitioners want and need evidence on best practices they can integrate into their own programs," said Dr. Margaret Fast, Scientific Director at NCCID.

Currently there are no national guidelines on providing outreach services for hard-to-reach populations such as intravenous drug users. Rather, each organization adopts its own guidelines, and often has little knowledge of other practices across the country.

"The Outreach Guide provides this knowledge and focuses on the challenges faced by those planning outreach - such as lack of accurate data, inadequate resources, and insufficient research - based evidence on the effectiveness of different outreach models and approaches," commented Francisco Ibanez-Carrasco PhD, an NCCID project advisor.

Approximately 50 experts and practitioners will meet in Toronto this Thursday and Friday to review the proposed Outreach Planning Guide and ensure the presented approach to planning outreach is appropriate for the Canadian context. Once finalized, the Outreach Planning Guide will then be taken to a series of regional workshops across the country to promote its implementation.

NCCID is one of six centres in Canada that works to connect public health workers with the research and practical evidence they need to make program and policy decisions. It was established in 2004 in response to the SARS crisis in Canada and is hosted by the International Centre for Infectious Diseases in Winnipeg.

SOURCE NCCID

For further information: For further information: Kelly Bunzeluk, (204) 949-0002, kbunzeluk@icid.com

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