A report on the global qualitative study

The International Network of People who Use Drugs (INPUD) has collaborated with the World Health Organization (WHO) Department for Global HIV, Hepatitis and STI Programmes on a global qualitative study examining the values and preferences of key populations, including people who inject drugs, for HIV, Hepatitis and STIs services. The findings of this study will inform the update of the WHO 2016 Consolidated Guidelines for HIV prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care for key populations. These Guidelines will be used to inform countries on the design and implementation of health packages for key populations, making it extremely important that they take into account the specific values and preferences of each key population included in the study (people who inject drugs, gay and bisexual men and other men who have sex with men, female, male and trans sex workers and trans people).

Across the globe, people who inject drugs continue to be at increased risk of HIV, viral hepatitis (HCV, viral hepatitis B (HBV) and tuberculosis (TB). In order to reduce HIV, HCV and HBV transmissions along with overdose deaths, a comprehensive package of harm reduction interventions must be made available to people who inject drugs. Although such interventions are considered by the WHO and other UN agencies as essential to achieve global targets, access to harm reduction is still limited or non-existent in many countries, with less than 1% of people who inject drugs having sufficient access to services. Structural barriers caused by the criminalisation of drugs and the accompanying stigma and discrimination directed towards people who inject drugs are among the biggest contributors to this problem.

As one of the four key population networks included in the study, INPUD conducted eight regional focus group discussions and ten semi structured interviews with people who use drugs from 27 total countries. This report is a summary of our key findings that will be used to update the Consolidated Guidelines with the values and preferences of people who inject drugs.

The findings of this research emphasise the critical importance of listening to the values and preferences of people who inject drugs to guide services and interventions and ensure there is a primary focus on delivering genuine person centred care.

The report is available following this link>>>.

 

Collection of models of good practice

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) Guidance Prevention and control of infectious diseases among people who inject drugs identifies good practice for prevention and control of infectious diseases among people who inject drugs. This guidance aims to support policy makers in Europe to plan adequate, evidence-based, pragmatic, and rationally designed public health responses for the prevention and control of infections among people who inject drugs. It aims at public health programme planners and decision makers working in the fields of infectious diseases, general public health, addiction and mental healthcare, social services, and drug control at national and regional levels.

Published n 2011, the Guidance is currently being updated. In addition to ongoing systematic reviews of peer-reviewed literature, a collection of models of good practice has been initiated by the two agencies, that should add practice-based evidence derived from interventions implemented in real-life, European settings.

The two EU agencies are inviting applications to report models of good practice targeting PWID population aiming to:

  • improve community-based testing
  • increase linkage to care
  • increase adherence to treatment of infection interventions
  • prevention or reduction of infections through successful health promotion approaches

The infections of interest are hepatitis B (HBV), hepatitis C (HCV), HIV and tuberculosis (TB).

Should you or your organisation be interested in reporting a model of good practice that fits the scope of this call, please express your interest following this link>>>.

Legal needs and access to justice for people who inject drugs and sex workers in Macedonia

Our member organisation HOPS published the Research report: Legal needs and access to justice for people who inject drugs and sex workers in Macedonia.

This research represents the first effort to assess the legal needs and paths to justice for people who inject drugs and sex workers in Macedonia. It was conducted at the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017 using a mixed-methods research approach. The quantitative phase included 250 respondents chosen through stratified random sampling, out of which 169 inject/injected drugs, and 107 are/were engaged in sex work over the last three and a half years. The qualitative research phase, on the other hand, was comprised of focus group discussions with 69 respondents from both communities, as well as individual or group interviews with 7 representatives from competent institutions.

The research results showed that people who inject drugs and sex workers in Macedonia experience ten times more non-trivial justiciable problems in comparison to the general population in the country. In addition, low level of legal literacy, lack of trust in institutions and systemic discrimination, among other factors, prevent citizens from these communities to seek protection of their rights and delivery of justice through institutional mechanisms. Such circumstances confirm the communities’ high vulnerability and underline the need for advancement of their access to information, legal advice and protection.

The findings pinpoint the necessity to educate people who inject drugs and sex workers on existing institutional mechanisms for protection of rights and delivery of justice, and motivate them to take actions towards legal resolution. Since citizens from these groups trust civil society organizations the most, CSOs are the first instance where they seek free legal advice and aid. Hence, services offered to these communities by civil society organizations need to be developed further, while also advancing the cooperation between the organizations and the competent institutions, including introduction of functional referral mechanisms.

Recommendations of the report also include that overcoming prejudices against people who inject drugs and sex workers in institutions responsible for ensuring the legal order, such as the police, Legal Needs and Access to Justice for People Who Inject Drugs and Sex Workers in Macedonia prosecutors, courts and prisons is crucial. This could be achieved with temporary measures, such as trainings, field and study visits, but also through more sustainable systemic changes in the process of professional training of employees in the aforementioned institutions. Similar measures could be useful for health and social workers

To read full report follow this link>>>>. Version of the report in Macedonian is available following this link >>>>.