Kazakhstan Risks Losing Opioid Maintenance Therapy Programs

The outcomes of the assessment of the opioid maintenance treatment (OMT) programs, initiated by the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan in 2017, may lead to the complete halt of these programs in the country. Multiple violations of human rights were recorded during the assessment, it was conducted in breach of international bioethical standards. Based on that, the Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA) and Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network appealed to United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) urging the Government of Kazakhstan to provide information on their plans to increase the availability of OMT as well as ensure the respect and protection of human rights of drug-dependent individuals and people living with HIV.

In 2017, only 2,69% of all injecting drug users on the outpatient register in Kazakhstan were receiving OMT, contrary to WHO’s recommendations of at least 20% coverage. OMT programs, initiated in Kazakhstan in 2008, under the recommendations from various international organisations, have not received unanimous support from politicians, law enforcement, and healthcare institutions. In June 2017, the Ministry of the Interior, backed by seven members of the parliament, requested immediate termination of OMT in Kazakhstan. The Prime Minister’s Office soon ordered an evaluation of the OMT programs, which was started at the end of September by the establishment of the Inter-Sectoral Working Group composed of 17 members. On 30 October 2017, the Working Group produced a Resolution with the conclusions that OMT is effective in Kazakhstan and it should be continued with some improvements regarding the accessibility and the quality of services.

However, some members of the Working Group were not satisfied with the positive recommendations and initiated an alternative research. With the help of the police, the new research was conducted without a proper methodology and gravely violating the rights of the OMT patients: a number of interviewed OMT patients were misinformed about the true aims of the research and were threatened or coerced into giving their statements, and they had to give urine for drug testing without the signing of consent forms.

At the end of December, the group provided its findings in a “Special Opinion”, the main conclusion of which was that OMT is not effective and should be terminated, asserting countries that have completely terminated OMT programs. Subsequently, the Ministry of the Interior issued information about the establishment of a new commission for additional assessment of the effectiveness of OMT with the participation of the National Security Committee and Foreign Intelligence Service. As a result, as of January 2018, the admission of new patients in the centers for methadone maintenance therapy was stopped.

“Despite the fact that OMT programs have proven to be one of the best means to decrease the spread of HIV, the Kazakh Government has taken a worrying step, which may have irreversible negative consequences for the livelihood of the country’s population. Primarily, it affects the OMT patients who are seeking alternatives to illicit drug use,” says Dasha Matyushina-Ocheret, EHRA’s Policy Reform Advisor. “The situation is particularly grave, since the Global Fund, which is the main financial donor for harm reduction programs in Kazakhstan, may stop the funding at the end of this year. Therefore, the decision was taken to present a parallel report on the access of people who inject drugs to drug dependence treatment in Kazakhstan to the CESCR as one of the means to help the people in need to continue receiving life-saving opioid substitution therapy.”

This is the second parallel submission by EHRA and Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network for the 62nd Pre-Sessional Working Group of the CESCR, which will take place in Geneva, on 3-6 April 2018. Last week, together with the Estonian organisation of people who use psychoactive substances LUNEST, they also tabled a report on the situation of women who use drugs in Estonia.

For more information, please read the Briefing Paper on the Access of People who Inject Drugs to Drug Dependence Treatment in Kazakhstan.

Regional Dialogue for the development of a new regional program and a multicountry application to the Global Fund is announced

Dear colleagues, 
 
The Regional Communities Networks Consortium uniting Eurasian Coalition on Male Health (ECOM), Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA), Eurasian Women’s Network on AIDS (EWNA), Sex Workers’ Rights Advocacy Network (SWAN), Eurasian Network of People Who Use Drugs (ENPUD) is announcing the Regional Dialogue for the development of a new regional program and a multicountry application to the Global Fund, aimed at strengthening sustainable national funding for HIV prevention and treatment programs, especially among key populations in EECA countries.
 
The regional program will be designed to strengthen efforts to improve the effectiveness of planning and monitoring system of programs, to reduce the prices of drugs for HIV, TB and hepatitis treatment and prevention, and strengthen community systems for key populations and people living with HIV.
 
The scope of the program of the Regional Communities Networks Consortium can include any of the EECA countries, except for the Balkan countries, that meet the Global Fund’s eligibility criteria and requirements for multi-country grants.
 
The Regional Dialogue is held from January 30 to February 23 in the form of an online survey, to which all interested organizations, groups and individuals are invited.
You can preview the online survey form by link. Please do not use this form to send your answears and comments, please fill out an online survey.
Please note that the survey contains questions that require response, and questions where answer is not necessary.

New members of the EHRA’s Steering Committee are elected

During the 15-29 January, 2018 Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA) conducted online Regional Meetings of it’s members to elect new Steering Committee representatives in the Baltic States, Belarus-Ukraine-Moldova, Central Asia, Central Europe, South-Eastern Europe regions. Quorum for the Regional meeting to elect new member needed no less than a half of the members from region and the new Steering Committee member became the person, who got the majority of the votes from voted members. So, how it was:

  1. Central Asia. In total the region has 42 official EHRA members, who were eligible to vote. From those 42 members – 31 participated in the meeting and cast the vote for their candidate, which means, that quorum was met, because 73,81% of members from the region participated in the elections of the SC member. In total 42 people participated in the meeting, but 11 votes were counted as not valid, because these persons were not eligible to vote (not official individual or organizational member of EHRA; don’t have an authorization from the leader of the organization). The results of voting:

– Oxana Ibragimova – 23 votes (74,20% of all valid votes)

– Sagyngali Yelkeyev – 4 votes (12,90% of all valid votes)

– Indira Kazieva – 4 votes (12,90% of all valid votes)

Oxana Ibragimova is elected for 3 years term as EHRA Steering Committee member representing the Central Asia region.

  1. Ukraine-Moldova-Belarus. In total the region has 60 official EHRA members, who were eligible to vote. From those 60 members – 33 participated in the meeting and cast the vote for their candidate, which means, that quorum was met, because 55,00% of members from the region participated in the elections of the SC member. In total 33 people participated in the meeting, 0 votes were counted as not valid. The results of voting:

– Vitalii Lavryk – 16 votes (48,49 % of all valid votes)

– Ala Iatco – 7 votes (21,21% of all valid votes)

– Liudmila Trukhan – 10 votes (30,30 % of all valid votes)

Vitalii Lavryk is elected for 3 years term as EHRA Steering Committee member representing the region of UKkraine-Moldova-Belarus.

  1. Baltics region. In total the region has 19 official EHRA members, who were eligible to vote. From those 19 members – 12 participated in the meeting and cast the vote for their candidate, which means, that quorum was met, because 63,16 % of members from the region participated in the elections of the SC member. In total 12 people participated in the meeting, 0 votes were counted as not valid. The results of voting:

– Jurgita Poškevičiūtė – 8 votes (66,67% of all valid votes)

– Elena Antonova – 4 votes (33,33% of all valid votes)

Jurgita Poškevičiūtė is elected for 3 years term as EHRA Steering Committee member representing Baltic countries region.

 

  1. South-Eastern Europe. In total the region has 21 official EHRA members, who were eligible to vote. From those 21 members – 15 participated in the meeting and cast the vote for their candidate, which means, that quorum was met, because 71,43 % of members from the region participated in the elections of the SC member. In total 26 people participated in the meeting, 11 votes were counted as not valid (not official individual or organizational member of EHRA; don’t have an authorization from the leader of the organization). The results of voting:

– Denis Dedajic – 4 votes (26,67% of all valid votes)

– Samir Ibisevic – 3 votes (20,00% of all valid votes)

– Eroll Shporta – 2 votes (13,33% of all valid votes)

– Yuliya Georgieva – 6 votes (40% of all valid votes)

Yuliya Georgieva is elected for 3 years term as EHRA Steering Committee member representing the South-Eastern Europe region.

  1. Central Europe. In total the region has 11 official EHRA members, who were eligible to vote. From those 11 members – 8 participated in the meeting and cast the vote for their candidate, which means, that quorum was met, because 72,73 % of members from the region participated in the elections of the SC member. In total 9 people participated in the meeting, 1 vote was counted as not valid (not official individual or organizational member of EHRA; don’t have an authorization from the leader of the organization). The results of voting:

– Janko Belin – 1 vote (12,5% of all valid votes)

– David Pešek – 7 votes (87,5% of all valid votes)

David Pešek is elected for 3 years term as EHRA Steering Committee member representing the South-Eastern Europe region.

 

Congratulations to the new elected Steering Committee members!

Human Rights Violations Of Women Who Use Drugs In Estonia Submitted To United Nations

Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, the Estonian organization LUNEST and the Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA) submitted a report regarding the situation with the enjoyment of social rights among women who use drugs and/or living with HIV in Estonia to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR). The report was compiled based on a number of human rights violations in Estonia, identified during a research study conducted by a team of non-governmental organizations in 2017.

The aim of this submission is to request the Estonian Government to address the issues of health, parental, child protection and labor rights violations incurred by women who use drugs.

An opportunity to voice concerns

Established in 1985, CESCR is a UN human rights body consisting of 18 independent experts that monitor implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights by its States parties, which are obliged to submit regular reports to the Committee on how the rights are being implemented in their countries. The Committee’s rules allow for international, regional, and national organisations and human rights institutions to submit parallel reports with questions for governments in advance of the dialogue with the states.

“The submission of such reports is a unique opportunity for non-governmental organisations to directly participate in the monitoring of human rights violations in their countries and bring these violations to the attention of UN bodies. We hope that based on our report on women who use drugs in Estonia, CESCR will include these issues into the list of questions for the Estonian Government,” Mikhail Golichenko of Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network explains the importance of the submission. “If we succeed and our concerns are included, the Estonian State representatives will be expected to submit replies and explanations to them. Thus, the voices of people who use drugs will be heard and, hopefully, the violations of their rights will be addressed and solved.”

Pre-sessional Working Group Session, during which CESCR will present the Estonian Government with the list of questions will take place in Geneva, on 3-6 April this year. The final report from Estonia will be presented to the Committee at a later stage.

Why Estonia?

Despite rather good overall human rights record in Estonia, people who use drugs still experience discrimination and stigmatisation from a number of state institutions, such as the police, child protection, and public health services. According to the European Drug Report 2017, Estonia has the highest number of mortalities from overdose in Europe (103 deaths per million) and one of the highest number of HIV prevalece attributed to injecting drug use (41.9 cases per million).

“The report to the CESCR means that Estonia, which has shown good progress in terms of providing access to HIV prevention and treatment, if compared to its neighbouring states, still has a long way to go to eliminate systematic violations of human rights against its most vulnerable population groups. What we have learned during our research of women who use drugs last year was unexpected and shocking. The recorded numbers of the misuse of power, arbitrary detentions and deprivation of parental rights is a worrying sign that even such countries as Estonia, which has been long considered as one of the most-developed post-Soviet countries, violate the rights of people who use drugs” Dasha Matyushina-Ocheret, Policy Reform Advisor at EHRA states the reasons behind the report. “We truly hope, that through an open dialogue and cooperation with local and international non-governmental ogranisations, the Estonian authorities will ensure that the rights of vulnerable groups, such as women who use drugs, are respected and protected.”

Draft briefing paper, which served as a basis for the parallel report to CESCR, was conducted in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, and Northeastern Ida-Virumaa county, were 38 in-depth interviews with women who use drugs were taken and later analysed. Apart from violations of parental rights, non-protection against gender-based violence, labor, health and child rights violations, the study has also found that the respondents lack access to legal and social support services, there are insufficient gender-sensitive services for women who use drugs, including quality opioid substitution treatment and rehabilitation. The study was conducted by Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, the Eurasian Harm Reduction Association and the Estonian organisation LUNEST.

Invitation to participate in the tender for the selection of photographers. Deadline extended.

Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (further EHRA) announces a tender for the selection of photographers for a long-term cooperation with EHRA in Lithuania.

Based on the results of the tender, EHRA will select several photographers, with whom EHRA will conclude long-term contracts.

More information about the Association and specifics of the work you can find on our website http://harmreductioneurasia.org

Type and subject of the tender:

As part of its work, EHRA requires quality, professional photos to fill the site’s content, groups in social networks, to use it in promotional materials (presentations, stands, guides, methodologies, articles, blogs, interviews, project implementation reports to partners and donors).

As a result of the tender, photographers with the highest amount of points will be chosen. Description of work:

– photography (conferences, meetings, round tables, trainings, seminars, etc.; portrait and group photo sessions of the EHRA team); photo processing.

Requirements to participants of the tender/evaluation criteria:

Essential requirement for the participants:

– place of residence – Lithuania;

– knowledge of Russian or English languages (Intermediate level B1 – minimum);

– work experience as a professional photographer at least 3 years;

– tolerance to vulnerable groups of people.

General requirements:

To assess the tender applications, the following criteria will be used (maximum amount of points for each criterion):

Participants must submit:

  1. CV in a free format, which should include:
  • previous work experience as a professional photographer;
  • indication of the cost of services: photography/ photo processing in EURO (1 hour/1 photo).

2 A link to the portfolio of your work (At least 10 examples).

3 Copies of diplomas and certificates.

ATTENTION! If these documents are not provided in full, such application in not considered for evaluation.

Application deadline – 1 p.m., February 05, 2018, Vilnius local time. Please send your documents to Yuliia Holub at julia@harmreductioneurasia.org

Special conditions:

Upon the completion of the tender procedures, EHRA will sign long-term contracts with the selected number of winners on a fixed cost of services per unit basis in EURO (one hour of photography and photo processing of one photo). Further work will be carried out based on the needs of EHRA and according to the timeline and other conditions, which will be decided upon in each individual case.

The submission of documents for participation in the tender does not impose on EHRA any additional obligation to conclude a contract.

Regional meetings of EHRA members to elect Steering Committee members in the Baltic States, Belarus-Ukraine-Moldova, Central Asia, Central Europe, South-Eastern Europe regions

On 15-29 January, 2018 EHRA conducts online Regional Meetings of it's members to elect new Steering Committee representatives in the following regions:

1) The Baltic States (Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia);
2) Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova;
3) Central Asia  (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan);
4) Central Europe  (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia);
5) South-Eastern Europe  (Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia).

All members (individual and organizational), who are from the regions, where elections are taking place and who are approved by the Steering Committee have a right to vote in the Regional meetings.

If you have any questions, please contact General Secretary of the Regional meetings - Eliza Kurcevič members@harmreductioneurasia.org

 

The Baltic States

Elena Antonova

Estonia

Know your candidate
CV (rus)     Motivation letter

Jurgita Poskeviciute

Lithuania

Know your candidate
CV   Motivation Letter

 

Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine

Ala Iatco

Moldova

Know your candidate
CV   Motivation Letter

 

Vitalii Lavryk

Ukraine

Know your candidate
CV (rus)   Motivation letter

 

Liudmila Trukhan

Belarus

Know your candidate
CV (rus)   Motivation Letter

 

Central Asia


Sagyngali Yelkeyev

Kazakhstan

Know your candidate
CV (rus)   Motivation Letter

Oxana Ibragimova

Kazakhstan

Know your candidate
CV (rus)   Motivation letter

 

 

 

 

 

Indira Kazieva

Kyrgyzstan

Know your candidate
CV (rus)    Motivation Letter

 

Central Europe

David Pesek

Czech Republic

Know your candidate
CV   Motivation Letter

Janko Belin

Slovenia

Know your candidate
CV   Motivation Letter

 

 

South-Eastern Europe

Denis Dedajic

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Know your candidate
CV   Motivation Letter

Eroll Shporta

Kosovo

Know your candidate
CV   Motivation Letter

Samir Ibisevic

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Know your candidate
CV   Motivation Letter

Yulia Georgieva

Bulgaria

Know your candidate
CV    Motivation Letter

 

Deadline Extended: AIDS 2018 Abstract Support

 

                                                    

 

Amsterdam Youth Force, Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA) and AFEW International invite applicants from Eastern Europe and Central Asia region (EECA) to submit drafts abstracts for XXII International AIDS Conference 2018 in Amsterdam (AIDS2018) to board panel of experts for review. The deadline is extended until 25th January 2018.

We would like to invite Eastern European and Central Asian (EECA) researchers, clinicians, scientists, community activists and young people to submit their abstracts to our EECA AIDS2018 Abstract Support team. Boosting the representation of academics in this region is important as this is the only region in the world where the epidemic is still growing. To increase the chances to present their work at the conference for researchers, clinicians, community activists and young people from EECA who may have less experience in writing scientific abstracts in English, we will be facilitating scientific and English language assistance. We will link you to a researcher or a professional in your field which can provide you with scientific feedback on how to improve the quality of your abstract. To specifically support young researchers and community activists, we also offer a feedback session via Skype to discuss the suggested changes to your work.

If this sounds like something you could benefit from, please read further about the eligibility criteria and review process.

Eligibility Criteria

You can submit your abstract to aids2018@afew.nl for a professional review if you are:

  • A (young) researcher, scientists, clinician, community activist or representative of community based organization or NGO; and
  • Planning to submit an abstract to 22nd International AIDS Conference 2018 in Amsterdam, 23-27 July 2018 (AIDS2018); and
  • Working in one of the following countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan;

The review process:

  • We will be accepting submissions from the 1st of December 2017 until the 25th of January 2018 in both English and Russian languages. The feedback to the submitted draft abstracts will be provided in one round. The panelists will provide in-depth feedback on the initial content, as well as suggestions for improvement.
  • If you want to receive language support – translation into English or English editing, you have to submit our abstract before 21st Limited translation and editing services will occur between the 22 January and 2 February 2018.

For the abstract submissions written in English, you will receive feedback on the scientific quality of work, and the limited number of abstracts will get assistance with English editing.

After you have finalized your abstract based on the received feedback, you can send it to us again with the email title «Need language assistance».

  • Due to the limited capacity of the panelists, in total up to 110 abstracts will be able to receive feedback. Therefore, the rule “first come – first served” will apply. First 110 abstracts submitted from eligible applicants will be forwarded to a relevant panelist based on his/her expertise and academical background, for feedback and in some cases for personal communication.

Please send your abstract in Word format, include a brief letter of motivation, which scientific track you will be submitting to and details about yourself including your age if you would like to apply as a young researcher or community activist.

Below you will find links to materials on how to write conference abstracts, available in English and Russian.

Requirement to abstracts:

  • The abstract should be written in accordance with the official requirements of the AIDS Conference.
  • The draft abstract should be written in Russian or English.
  • The content of the abstract should be in line with one of the conference scientific tracks. The scientific track must be specified under the heading of the abstract.
  • There is a maximum of two abstracts per applicant.
  • Those applicants who want to receive language support either the translation into Russian, or editing of the English abstract, will have to submit a short motivation letter to explain why they need such support.

Confidentiality:

AFEW International, EHRA and Amsterdam Youth Force form a Steering Committee and the secretariat of the EECA Abstract support project. Only people designated to serve within Steering Committee and the secretariat and the reviewers assigned to each abstract will have access to the abstract submissions as well as the contact details of the applicants. We will not release any information on who has received assistance for their submissions at any point unless we have consent to do so.

Useful resources

  1. Abstract writing module available in Russian and English

An Abstract writing module is developed in collaboration with the International AIDS Society (IAS) – the organizer of the AIDS conferences, and written by editors of the Journal of the International AIDS Society, an open-access platform for essential and innovative HIV/AIDS research. It is available for everybody in English and translated into Russian by AFEW International.

  1. Online training on abstract writing

AFEW International has conducted a training on community based participatory research and abstract writing. This training was steamed live and records as well as hand outs and presentations are available in Russian here:

Abstract writing: structure, review criteria, submission tips

Good abstract title

On the road to AIDS2018: practical guide

Presentations and handouts (downloadable, please scroll down)

If you want to receive English presentations and handouts, please refer to the email address below.

  1. Tips and trick on how to write a good abstract.

AIDS2018: Preparing for registration and submitting abstracts. An Article was written by a young researchers Anna Tokar, in Russian is available here, and in English here

You can follow us on http://www.afew.org/aids2018eeca/ and https://www.facebook.com/AFEWInternational/ for all the updates on the available recourses and opportunities.

Open support letter for EHRA

In the beginning of October, a new regional organization, the Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA), launched its work in the Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia (CEECA) region.

As EHRA is at an early stage of its development, it will need support to get on its feet – support from the community, from partners, from donors, from technical support partners. A group of volunteers initiated a sign-on letter so that partner organizations can express their support for the new association and call for much-needed donor support as well.

The letter is already co-signed by 112 organizations and 19 individuals.

If your organization is ready to support EHRA and co-sign this letter, please send on losehra@gmail.com  the full name of the organization, the name of the signing person and his\her position as well as organization’s logo in JPG format. You may also co-sign the letter as an individual – for that we need your name, surname and a country of residence.

Please see the letter below.

Letter of Support