The coordinators of the Joint Action on HIV and Co-infection Prevention and Harm Reduction (HA-REACT) work packages (WP) have completed the next steps of the project deliverables. Meetings took place with relevant stakeholders in Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary and the Czech Republic. Each team also held a logical framework approach (LFA) workshop. The logframe approach is a project management strategy which is used to strengthen project design, implementation and monitoring.
The first workshop (WP4) took place in Budapest, Hungary, on February 15 and 16, where 12 NGO representatives discussed expanding HIV and hepatitis testing and linkages to care. One of the principal goals is to establish a low threshold access approach for PWID while simultaneously overcoming complex barriers such as language and access. The work plan includes distributing improved information materials on rapid testing. In addition, training workshops will also be take place aimed at health care workers and PWID consultants.
In Riga, Latvia, on 14-15 March, the partners of WP8 (sustainability and long-term funding) discussed a survey on overcoming barriers to harm reduction. Further, another deliverable will include a literature review, which will map out current activities taking place in the area of sustainable and long-term funding. Lastly, a policy review will supplement the survey findings.
Partners of the WP5 who are focused on scaling up harm reduction, met in Vilnius, Lithuania, on March 16 and 17. They discussed the development of information materials on barriers to harm reduction interventions. The materials will be used to assist the scale up of up harm reduction interventions in Latvia and Lithuania. Additionally, study visits and training workshops are planned along with the development of a manual which will intend to breakdown the resistance of certain professional not wishing to engage with PWID.
WP6 stakeholders are representatives of the work on harm reduction and continuity of care in prisons. They include OST and TB specialists, representatives of NGOs, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Justice. Discussions centred around their activities on harm reduction and the continuity of care in prisons in Prague, Czech Republic on April 18 and 19. During the meeting, the current situation concerning HIV, HCV and TB among drug users in prisons, in each involved countries, were discussed.
The LFA workshop WP7 on the integrated care for people who inject drugs was held in Tallinn, Estonia on April 25 and 26. The deliverables of WP7 were examined, with particular discussion on one of the deliverables which entails a practical toolkit that will combine core recommendations from international guidelines and include examples of the most relevant models of care (best practices, case studies). International partners mapped out what they viewed as the main challenges within their countries regarding integrated care and deliberated over how to overcome these challenges. Moreover, NGO representatives from Estonia presented their views on linking harm reduction with care and how Joint Action activities can assist them in their efforts to strengthen this connection.