Web Outreach Consultation Services

Within the project “Emergency support for the provision of HIV and harm reduction services among key populations in Ukraine and refugees in selected neighbouring countries”, funded by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), our member organisation NGO ReGeneration is providing web outreach services to displaced Ukrainian and Russian citizens in the form of peer consultations and counseling on the topics of harm reduction regarding the use of psychoactive substances, NPS and stimulants in particular, and the risks that potentially accompany their use or related behavioral patterns. We are also providing referral services in terms of voluntary, confidential counseling and testing (VCCT) for HIV, HCV and sexually transmitted infections (STI) in general, as well as consultations and referral services regarding substance use disorders and other possibly necessary health, social or legal services (GBV and such).

The Web outreach services is provided via the Zoom platform, in the form of individual, anonymous and confidential peer consultations, five days per week, in time-slots of 3 hours.

The mode of communication and topics are entirely up to the beneficiaries. The consultations will be provided in English, by English-speaking staff. If any of the potential beneficiaries are not comfortable enough with their English to engage in consultations in this language, we are able to provide consultations in their native language by providing simultaneous interpreting from and into Russian or Ukrainian; however, due to the added logistical steps, it is necessary to schedule consultations in Russian or Ukrainian for specific dates and time slots; these can be scheduled by contacting our organization at: info@regeneracija.org.

To access the Web outreach service, follow this link>>>.

 

Needs assessment

Our member organisation Re Generation will implement the research study ‘’The needs assessment among Ukrainian refugees and Russian migrants in the Republic of Serbia on access to services and new psychoactive substances/stimulant use’’. The survey is part of the “Emergency support for the provision of HIV and Harm Reduction services among key populations in Ukraine and refugees in selected neighbouring countries” project funded by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

This research study aims to estimate the level of new psychoactive substances/stimulants used among Ukrainian refugees and Russian migrants as well as understand what the Republic of Serbia should do in the future to ensure that the Ukrainian refugees and Russian migrants have access to services that will improve their social and health status in the humanitarian settings.

If you are a Ukrainian refugee or Russian migrant in the Republic of Serbia, please see the s urvey, more information, and consent form in English here>>>.

Please remember the following:

  • Participation in this research is voluntary, confidential and free,
  • You do not have to decide today whether or not you will participate in the research,
  • Before you decide, you can talk to anyone you feel comfortable with about the research.

 

Project coordination meeting

Partners in the “Emergency support for the provision of HIV and Harm Reduction services among key populations in Ukraine and refugees in selected neighbouring countries” project held a coordination meeting with the representative of the UNODC Regional Programme Office for Eastern Europe which supports the project. It was an opportunity to present information of the activities implemented since the start of the project in mid-December and additionally clarify some issues related to reporting.

Meeting with the UN agencies

DPNSEE and partners in the “Emergency support for the provision of HIV and Harm Reduction services among key populations in Ukraine and refugees in selected neighbouring countriesproject in Serbia held an online meeting with the representatives of he UN agencies in the country. The aim of the meeting was to present the project and to ensure that it is connected with the work of the agencies.

We expect that the support of the UN system will contribute to establishing good relations and eliminate potential challenges in implementation of the project.

A project for refugee key populations from Ukraine

The Drug Policy Network South East Europe and its member organisations from Serbia (Prevent, Timočki omladinski centar, Duga, Re Generacija) and Montenegro (Juventas, Cazas) implement the “Emergency support for the provision of HIV and Harm Reduction services among key populations in Ukraine and refugees in selected neighbouring countries” project with the support from the UNODC Regional Programme Office for Eastern Europe.

Primary objectives of the project are:

  • Ensuring the continuity of the HIV prevention, treatment and care (including OAT and ARV) services for people who use drugs/living with HIV
  • Community-based care and support for people who use drugs, people living with HIV, people in prisons
  • Provision of essential requirements, including food and medicines and shelters, in coordination with the penitentiary service/local CSOs

Our organisations will implement the following activities:

  • Provide access to information about health services and drugs and ensure clear, reliable and trustworthy health information reaches refugees
  • Support in accessing health care in host country
  • Rapid provision/purchasing of basic products for existing key populations/refugee shelters/centers
  • Provision of HIV harm reduction services for key populations (including refugees)
  • HIV and harm reduction services for people who use drugs, including new psychoactive substances
  • Mobilising civil society, service providers, policymakers and other national stakeholders from the Western Balkan region to ensure wide and all-involving drug strategy development process
  • Increased awareness and understanding regarding comprehensive gender-sensitive HIV services for women who use drugs (WUD) among health care managers, service providers and decision-makers

This project will be conducted in UNODC partnership with the local CSOs and aims to strengthen the capacity of CSOs to address HIV prevention, treatment, care and support among people who use drugs (including those who use NPS/stimulants) internally displaced populations, refugees and prison populations.

Project findings will inform the development and implementation of evidence-based, gender-responsive and sustainable HIV and harm reduction services for people who used drugs/people in and released from prisons, and IDPs/refugees in Ukraine, Moldova, Serbia and Montenegro.

Civil society statement on ensuring continuity of essential life-saving treatments for Ukrainians in European countries

The Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA) initiated the Civil society statement on ensuring continuity of essential life-saving treatments for Ukrainians in European countries. The statement signed by 29 civil society organizations and networks, including DPNSEE.

The undersigned organisations, working with and representing the interests of communities of people living with and affected by HIV, tuberculosis, viral hepatitis and drug dependence in Central and Eastern European countries, call for the following urgent measures:

  • Organise medical data exchange with a particular focus on HIV and opioid dependence to ensure continuity of services between Ukraine and EU member states and among the EU member states;
  • As good clinical practice, ensure that previous diagnosis are accepted, people are prescribed the same regimens and take-home dosages of OAT as in Ukraine as much as possible;
  • To promote and follow the recommendations being set in the Standardized Protocol for clinical management and Medical Data-Sharing for people living with HIV among refugees from Ukraine[1] and to collaborate with WHO on the development of a similar protocol for the refugees from the Ukraine who are OAT patients
  • Support EU member states with emergency procurement and exchange of medications, as needed, to ensure methadone (tables), buprenorphine, dolutegravir-based antiretroviral therapy, pediatric antiretroviral medications and similar Ukraine-prevalent treatments are made available for continuation in all border and other neighbouring countries;
  • Establish a pool of translation support for clinicians and Ukrainian refugees and utilise automated translation services to overcome barriers in refugee services and clinical settings;
  • Support outreach and contacts by HIV and drug treatment experts and NGOs in refugee centres, including the sensitisation of staff and to urgently identify people in need of uninterrupted daily treatment;
  • Introduce simplified initiation of essential treatment to all Ukrainians with or without refugee status based on their passport data; and,
  • Ensure that monitoring systems and hotlines are available to clinicians and other service providers to immediately solve the health issues affecting Ukrainian refugees.

The Statement was sent to high level EU officials and authorities of France (currently holding EU Presidency), Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania.

To read full Statement, follow this link>>>.

 

Support to Ukrainian refugees in Romania

The wave of refugees fleeing Ukraine after the start of the war came also to neighbouring Romania. So far, 500.000 of them entered Romania – most of them transiting to other destinations, while 50.000 stayed in the country.

Our member organisation ARAS from Romania immediately got organised to provide them help and continues to be with those who were forced to leave their families, homes and friends because of the war in Ukraine!

The ARAS apartment became a house, for a week, for 4 people: three women and a 9-year-old girl, followed another 4 ariving later. Company MODELiER provides a hot meal to the refugees accommodated by ARAS.

The ARAS team facilitated access to ARV treatment in Bucharest for a woman living with HIV from Ukraine. This was possible due to a joint effort of ARAS and the National Institute of Infectious Diseases “Prof. Dr. Matei Balş”, which responded promptly to the request, so that treatment is not interrupted. It was the first situation of this kind; ARAS are sure, unfortunately, that it is not the last. In 2020, according to UNAIDS estimates, 250.000 people were living with HIV in Ukraine.

In order to continue offering these services, ARAS invited for donations. The information about this is available on the ARAS website (https://arasnet.ro/donatie-paypal/) or directly in the bank accounts available at the image below with the mention UKRAINE.

Humanitarian corridor for Ukraine

The EHRA Statement

45 civil society organizations from different European countries including Ukraine requested relevant UN, EU structures and humanitarian institutions to urgently support and set up of an uninterrupted supply chain of humanitarian assistance to the affected populations within the country, and to establish safe humanitarian corridors to evacuate civilians from Ukraine.

On 24 February 2022, the Russian Federation launched a large-scale invasion of Ukraine, targeting several large cities including Kyiv, Kharkiv, Kherson, Mariupol and Zhitomyr, and bombing neighbourhoods within those areas, inevitably resulting in countless civilian deaths. The escalating war actions are causing tremendous humanitarian crises affecting millions of people. Those staying in cities and villages in Ukraine are in urgent need of warm shelter, food, water, basic medicine and other essential supplies. Additionally, more than 100,000 people have been internally displaced since the invasion began, and the number of displaced people will continue to grow. At the moment, meeting the essential needs of internally displaced people is extremely difficult in Ukraine due to martial law, curfews and threats to the lives of volunteers.

What is now urgently needed is the provision of basic, essential health supplies and medication for people in Ukraine, including those internally displaced, by means of revised importation rules and distribution networks. People who belong to vulnerable and discriminated groups — such as people who use drugs, people in prison, gay and other men who have sex with other men, sex workers and trans people — must not be overlooked in these efforts. Notably, Ukraine has the second largest population of people living with HIV, people with tuberculosis and drug-resistant tuberculosis and opioid dependency in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and the country has developed successful and progressive harm reduction and treatment programmes, supported by the global community. To sustain those achievements and preserve human life, we ask you to ensure essential provisions including opioid agonist therapy, ARV therapy, and tuberculosis diagnostics and treatments.

Following negotiations between the two sides on 3 March, Ukraine and Russia have agreed tentatively to create humanitarian corridors in the worst-affected areas of Ukraine, where civilians are most at risk from the war. But in reality, there is no clarity on how these passages could be implemented.

Ukraine urgently needs humanitarian corridors supported by intergovernmental and multilateral organizations.

 

An important DPNSEE Board meeting

The DPNSEE Board held online meeting on 3 March 2002. The meeting agnda included some very important points.

The Board discussed current Network situation. With reduced funding, DPNSEE is now working in a “safe mode” with 50% staff working time and limitted expenses. We are safe in this mode for the first half of 2022 and expect that with some new projects we shall return to regular work soon.

The Board decided to organise the DPNSEE General Assembly online on Tuesday 29 March. The Assembly will have three thematic sessions: 1) Formal meeting to adopt reports and plans; 2) Elections (at least three Board members are not eligible for re-election) and 3) Strategic planning (finalising the DPNSEE Strategy).

The Board in length discussed the situation with key affected populations caused by the recent war in Ukraine. Several actions have already been taken by UN agencies, Global Fund community delegations, EHRA and various civil society organisations to ensure that provision of necessary harm reduction services and HIV prevention programs, both in Ukraine and Russia but also in countries which welcomed refugees from the two countries. The Board invites member organisations to open their services for the refugees and help them settle in the unpleasant situation. The Board will follow the situation and take necessary further steps if needed.