A new mobile unit is set to travel around Cork and Kerry to provide rapid HIV testing, condom provision, drug and alcohol assessments and support from trained health promotion professionals in a first-of-its-kind venture in the region.
The Sexual Health Centre in Cork has launched a joint community initiative with Cork Local and Southern Regional Drug and Alcohol Task Forces.
The mobile health service will travel to all parts of Cork and Kerry, making support, information and interventions available to all.
The ‘DASH’ (Drugs, Alcohol and Sexual Health) unit was launched at St Finbarr’s Campus in Cork city on Friday.
Executive director of the Sexual Health Centre, Dr Martin Davoren, said DASH will provide an important link to support for communities across Cork and Kerry.
“The aim of the project is to ensure equity of access.
We want to break down the barriers that people face in accessing services — be it time, location, or cost.
"DASH is available to all sectors of the community, and is free of charge."
DASH project worker Emily Barrett explained that the initiative will bring opportunities for informal interventions in every village and town across Cork and Kerry.
"People deserve to get information and support around their health and wellbeing in a friendly and welcoming environment, and DASH will bridge that gap for a lot of people," she said.
Joe Kirby, co-ordinator of Cork Local Drug and Alcohol Task Force, said the cross-sectoral approach of the project is central to its development and delivery.
Drugs, alcohol and sexual health impact everyone at some point in their lives.
"The client groups of each of our organisations can all benefit from the ease of access and diverse expertise at the helm of the DASH project.
"Importantly, DASH will be available to members of the wider community, who may not have the opportunity or encouragement to consider their own needs around drugs, alcohol and sexual health until the DASH van arrives in their local area," Mr Kirby said.
The DASH van is available to visit communities and organisations throughout counties Cork and Kerry. For more information, contact email@example.com
Source: The Irish Examiner, 10/07/21