Campaign organizer: Forum of People Who Use Drugs, Kazakhstan
Project implementation period: 05/15/2020 – 07/31/2020
Project goal: To attract the attention of medical and social services, as well as the general public, to the problem of access to methadone in hospitals in Kazakhstan.
Beneficiaries: direct – 89 OST program participants, indirect – 500 people
Territorial coverage: 7 regions of the Republic of Kazakhstan, 10 cities (Pavlodar, Ekibastuz, Ust-Kamenogorsk, Semey, Kostanay, Taraы, Karaganda, Temirtau, Almaty, Uralsk)
As part of the “Chase the Virus, Not People!” campaign, the Kazakhstan Forum of people who use drugs conducted an online survey to collect data on access to OST in Kazakhstan. The survey involved 89 program participants from 10 substitution therapy sites. The survey results showed the negative impact of the lack of continuous access to the drug (methadone) on health and quality of life of OST program participants, as well as the need to develop a mechanism for continuous access to the drug, at least in inpatient treatment.
In Kazakhstan, the issue of methadone hand-out has not been resolved. With the beginning of the introduction of COVID-19 quarantine restrictions on the movement of citizens and public transport for patients, the situation has become more complicated. Forum activists prepared letters and appeals from patients to the narcology service with a request to resolve the issue of continuous access to treatment, held a number of online meetings and correspondence with government and international organizations to address this issue. During the discussions, it was decided to send a letter to the Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the Chairman of the State Commission for ensuring the state of emergency under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan with a request to ensure maximum continuity of appropriate access to medical services for people who use drugs and suffer from drug use disorders, in particular to maintenance substitution therapy.
As a result, the patients of the sites were issued certificates for movement around the city. In Temirtau, where the narcological department was designated for patients with COVID-19, the OST site was moved to Karaganda. Transport was provided for patients who received the drug every day in another city.
Forum activists and participants involved in advocacy activities within the campaign tried to get supporters and other community members to take action. As part of the campaign, a mock-up of jackets with the campaign logo and a flyer with patient rights information and Forum contacts were developed.
The slogans of the Campaign are defined:
#Memory of the Dead
A separate WhatsApp group “Kinodokumentalist” was created to share video materials and experiences within the campaign. The group included 10 participants (representatives of ENPUD, communities of people who use drugs, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine).
Links to campaign materials:
City Center for the Prevention and Control of AIDS Temirtau, Pavlodar, Kostanay
NGO “My House” Temirtau
PF “Trust”, Karaganda
OBF “Shapagat” Temirtau