European experts will share best practices of model projects in networking among NGOs at the Regional Conference to be held in Sanatorium “Zmina”( Koncha Zaspa) on 11 November.
November 7, 2005.
The Programme of Assistance for the prevention of drug abuse and drug trafficking in Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova (BUMAD Programme), funded by the European Commission will launch a Regional Conference on NGOs networking on 11 November. The goal of the Conference is to disseminate best practice of model projects implemented by NGOs of three countries (Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova) in the area of tackling drug use problems among high risk groups with the objective of reducing the transmission of blood borne viruses and to facilitate and support cross-national cooperation.
There are extreme difficulties facing NGOs which provide health and social care services to people injecting drugs in Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova. Health and social care provision to people currently injecting drugs is not valued and in many instances NGOs providing care have little freedom to operate. This constitutes a very dangerous situation. Among people injecting drugs HIV/AIDS prevalence rate is considered as high as 69%. Consequently the country may face an epidemic - the effect of which will be dramatic in the medium/long term because of the burden of disease and decimation of its able work force.
Current local policy is having the inadvertent effect of driving drug use underground and makes people injecting drugs very hard to reach for health care services. Consequently, most drug users continue to be involved in very unsafe practices i.e. sharing needles and syringes. NGOs in each region are accomplishing excellent work in this difficult climate. However local communities and their leaders need to value this work and through enabling policies allow the influence and effect of this work to be enhanced.
The case for a radical switch to a public health care approach to injecting drug use is overwhelming. A sensible and pragmatic public health approach to the threat of transmission of blood-borne viruses has been demonstrated as effective in many parts of the world. The linking of NGOs through networking and joint implementation of projects at a regional and local level has contributed greatly to developing such a strategy. By being networked locally, regionally, nationally and eventually internationally, NGOs will develop the confidence, conviction, authority and presence to articulate cogently the case for reducing the devastating harm which injecting drug use brings in its wake.
The Conference will be attended by the representatives of the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Family, Youth and Sport of three countries as well as by EC, Canadian International Agency, International HIV/AIDS Alliance, SIDA, UNAIDS, UNFPA, UNICEF, WHO and USAID.
The Conference is organized by BUMAD Programme, financed by EU and implemented by UNDP in Ukraine.
The BUMAD Programme is an umbrella programme benefiting Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova. The overall objective of this Programme is to reduce drug trafficking. The Programme adopted a balanced approach addressing interdiction aspects as well as demand reduction and regional co-operation aspects.
There is no greater threat facing these three countries than the pandemic of injecting drug driven HIV/AIDS. The BUMAD Programme sought to address this by gathering a large network of NGOs together under one Programme and umbrella and directing their activities in a concerted, cooperative and local manner. The principles developed through this cooperation will be of great benefit to future interventions at a national and a regional scale and will be presented at the conference. The networks established through the BUMAD programme will assist the translation of these principles into future action which should embrace state and civil society cooperation.
For more information, please, visit http://bumad.un.kiev.ua.