INGO “International HIV/AIDS and TB Institute” in cooperation with the Military-Medical Department of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, Central Sanitarian-Epidemiological Department of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine in the framework of technical assistance to the Armed Forces of Ukraine under the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (DHAPP-PEPFAR) sought out new approaches for preventive work among the servicemen of Ukrainian Army deployed to combat positions in the East.
The task was to find an engaging way to provide this information in an easy-to-read format, simplistically presented in the framework of playing cards to ensure a certain degree of “survivability” and to be portable by fitting into the pockets of field uniforms. We sought to capitalize not only on HIV/AIDS prevention messages, but also on other socially dangerous diseases and healthy life styles; and on field sanitation and hygiene. Thus the INGO “IHATI” team with the involvement of experts from the HIV/AIDS field and the Ministry of Defense developed the deck of information-laded playing cards, which allowed them to combine various pieces of important public health information under one umbrella. The information provided by the playing cards both satisfies the pocket-size requirement of the material and also presents in an easy-to-grasp way knowledge about HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Hepatitis C, sexually transmitted infections, safe sex, first aid, field hygiene, etc.
The pilot edition of the playing cards has been β-tested during February – March 2015 among the soldiers in the Kyiv Main Military Hospital in Kyiv, Ukraine. The soldiers’ survey was followed by a focus-group discussion with the military, which had a chance to use the cards. According to the wishes of the target group, the feedback was analyzed with consequent changes made to the design and content of the cards where applicable. The final edition of the 10,000 playing cards deck was produced in June, 2015 and distributed to the Kyiv and regional sanitary-epidemiological departments of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine in Kharkiv, Lviv, Odessa and Vinnytsia.
The informational playing cards have been highly appraised and approved by the Senior Staff of the Military Medical Department of the Ministry of Defense and are now widely being used for sanitary and prophylactic work in the Military Medical Clinical Centers and in the Military hospitals as well as in the Antiterrorist Operation (ATO) zone for different groups of the military such as conscripts, mobilized reservists, regular troops, and wounded soldiers.
Several photographs are provided to show the use of these informational cards in various environments.