The Regional Advisory Group (RAG) of ASHM’s Taskforce on BBVs, Sexual Health and COVID-19 was established in March 2020, chaired by Dr Nicholas Medland and co-ordinated by ASHM representatives, Dr Michelle O’Connor and Scott McGill. The aim of the RAG is to deliver timely, high-quality evidence and guidance on the scientific, clinical and research aspects of COVID-19 for health care workers within the Asia Pacific Region.

The RAG has 76 members with a diverse membership base. We have members, for example, from the WHO, SPC, APN+, AFAO, Y-Peer, UNAIDS, OSSHM, the University of Malaya and the HIV clinic at Sardjito Hospital, Indonesia.

Our members are crucial in highlighting the needs and interests of their communities and health workforce and contributing to the development of materials and guidance pieces. Membership is divided across the following subgroups, and is led by the respective chairs:

  • Science, Epidemiology and Research, led by Chad Hughes (Burnet Institute)
  • Key populations, led by Midnight Poonkasetwattana (APCOM)
  • Clinical Care, led by Dr Nittaya Phanuphak (Thai Red Cross) and Associate Professor Cathy O’Connor (Kirby Institute)
    • COVID-19 Clinical Care
    • HIV and comorbidities (including TB)
    • Viral Hepatitis
    • Sexual and Reproductive Health
    • Mental Health
    • Papua New Guinea Special Interest Group

 

Since March 2020, the RAG has produced more than 10 articles, covering clinical guidance on COVID-19, BBVs and Sexual Health as well as research interpretation and advocacy for priority populations.

All articles can be found here

 

Samples of articles produced by the RAG can be found below:

 

In addition to articles and guidance pieces, the RAG has also played a large role in health care worker advocacy, having hosted numerous webinars and panel discussions. The aim of these webinars is to amplify key issues related to COVID-19 in the Asia Pacific region, as told by health experts, research professionals and community advocates and members.

 

Examples of previous RAG webinars include:

  • The COVID-19 Pandemic and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in the Pacific
  • The Viral Hepatitis response in Asia and the Pacific in the time of COVID-19
  • COVID-19, HIV, Sexual Health and Viral Hepatitis: What's the new normal for the Asia Pacific?

 

All past webinars can be found here.

 

Looking to the future of the COVID-19, BBV and Sexual Health space, the RAG will continue to provide a platform for collaboration between health experts, community advocates and researchers across the Asia Pacific Region. If you would like to join the RAG or learn more about their activities, please email taskforce.rag@ashm.org.au.