Action for Access! Community Based Participatory Action Research

Action for Access Principal Investigators in Hanoi during three day intensive training: Doan Thanh Tung from LIghthouse, Vietnam PI; Jeffrey Walimbwa from ISHTAR, Kenya PI; Sonya Arreola from MPact, Global PI  

by Sonya Arreola, Sr. Research Advisor

Action for Access Principal Investigators enjoy a selfie with Mr. Walimwa’s team after presenting GMHR findings. The ISHTAR team made plans to use GMHR results to guide their programming and advocacy.

Thanks to the over 15,000 men who engaged with the 2019-2020 Global Men’s Health and Rights survey, the new year brought much excitement for the Action for Access! team. After having launched the GMHR survey in October of 2019, we spent the beginning of 2020 learning how to analyze, interpret and write-up data during our ongoing weekly calls. Then, we prepared interim findings and presented them during our intensive three-day meeting in Hanoi in the first week of March. Consistent with findings from previous years’ global GMHR surveys, we found that stigma and discrimination, as well as criminalization of same-sex sexual relationships, significantly impede access to the health services most needed by gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men globally.

Importantly, this is the first time we have had enough country level data to also confirm the same results specifically in Kenya and in Vietnam. The study closed on 31 March, 2020. Our next steps will be to conduct analyses with the complete data set regarding the determinants of access, utilization and outcomes of health services among gay men. Stay tuned!

Action for Access! is a community-based participatory action research (CBPAR) project that investigates the unique forces that shape access to services among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men. By using a CBPAR approach the Global principal investigator (PI), Sonya Arreola from MPact, provides methods training and research guidance in the service of supporting country level content expertise of the Kenya PI, Jeffrey Walimbwa from ISHTAR; and the Vietnam PI, Doan Thanh Tung from Lighthouse.

Jeffrey Walimbwa, Kenya Principal Investigator from ISHTAR, presenting interim 2019 GMHR findings from Kenya. “Sexual stigma against gay men on the part of health care providers is a strong barrier to accessing health services such as HIV testing, PrEP, and HIV treatment.”
Doan Thanh Tung, Principal Investigator from Lighthouse Global Enterprise, presenting interim 2019 GMHR findings from Vietnam. “Experiences of criminalization are associated with poor access to health services among gay men in Vietnam.”
Jeffrey Walimbwa, Kenya Principal Investigator from ISHTAR, tries Hanoi’s famous egg coffee. “A nice break from learning about odds ratios.”

For more information about Action for Access!, please see:

Community in the Driver’s Seat for Research

Discussions on Participatory Action Research

or contact:

    Đoàn Thanh Tùng, BA – Lighthouse, Viet Nam:

    Jeffrey Walimbwa – ISHTAR, Kenya:

    Sonya Arreola, PhD MPH – MSMGF, United States: