Round table on early detection of tuberculosis in people living with HIV was organized by the Global Fund project “Tuberculosis control in Serbia”, implemented by the Ministry of Health of Serbia, on June 14. 2013.
The round table gathered representatives of healthcare institutions, Global Fund, and non-government organizations, and with several lectures and following discussions presented the new manual “Tuberculosis and HIV-joined conifection”, as well as the real danger from the illness and the clinical aspects of the coinfection.
The manual was developed with the goal to provide basic knowledge on the joined confection of tuberculosis and HIV, and thus hopefully prevent it, recognize it in its earliest stages, and contribute to more successful treatment.
Q-Club representative on this round table was Rade Kuzmanović.
Public Healthcare authority in Užice and the Institute for public health of Serbia “Dr Milan Jovanović Batut” from Belgrade organized the symposium named “HIV/AIDS in Serbia – Experiences, New and Further Developments and Actions”, which took place on Zlatibor on 7th and 8th of June 2013.
Symposium participants presented further challenges to be faced within the overall response to HIV and AIDS and pointed out the obstacles and difficulties which can be expected in the future. Experts from Serbia and neighboring countries (Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina), scientists and experts from the Ministry of Health of Serbia, university professors from Serbia and abroad, and representatives of the Global Fund as well as members of the PLHIV sector took part in the symposium. Representing Q-Club was Nada Mićić.
The fourth AIDS symposium is a continuation of activities of the Public Healthcare Authority of Užice and the Institute for public health of Serbia “Dr Milan Jovanović Batut” from Belgrade in preventing and controlling HIV/AIDS.
Headlines like ”Horror” and ”Panic: People living with HIV without treatment” were used by major TV stations and Newspapers while reporting on the appeal of Q-Club that nearly 1000 people, who receive treatment at the clinic for infectious and tropical diseases, were left without medications. Prime time TV shows activists of Q-Club and relevant experts presented to the public all the ramifications of treatment interruptions of people living with HIV.
After this appeal and adequate steps of the people in charge the medications became available in private pharmacies. These pharmacies were permitted to procure and distribute the medications at the expense of the Republic Healthcare Fund. Normalization and regular procurement of HIV medications in the pharmacies of the public “Belgrade” Pharmacy Company followed shortly.
This appeal initiated by the stock-out, put out to the public important questions regarding the quality of healthcare of people living with HIV in Serbia, which are primarily stock-outs of diagnostic tests, insufficient access to medicines and molecules.
Q-Club will persevere in insisting for solving these problems in the future.
Press-clipping in Serbian following this action can be seen here.
Conference on cooperation perspectives of civil society organizations and local self-governments took place in the “Serbia” palace, it was organized by Association Duga from Šabac in cooperation with the Office for human and minority rights and supported by the USA Embassy. There were over 50 participants – representatives of local self governments and civil society organizations from all over Serbia on this Conference.
The Strategy for the fight against discrimination was presented by Suzana Paunović, the director of the Office for human and minority rights. She stressed that drafting of the strategy included a wide public debate consisting of 11 round tables, and that over 150 civil society organizations took part in the drafting process.
The key elements of the Global Fund Project in Serbia were presented by Katarina Mitić, Director of the implementation unit of the Global Fund Project and the Ministry of Health of Serbia. She stressed that some programs face sustainability problems after withdrawal of the Global Fund, like the needle exchange program, since promoting such activities is very hard, as well as presenting them in the right context. As an answer to the question posted by the Q-Club, on the chances of new Global Fund rounds, Katarina Mitić said that chances are slim, due to the low prevalence and average GDP which puts Serbia in the Upper middle category. Still, if research shows that there is a concentrated epidemic in the MSM population, it would be a good cause for continued financing of certain programs.
The Director of the institute of public health of Serbia “Batut”, Dr Dragan Ilić spoke about contribution of the Association Duga to prevention of HIV/AIDS. In his talk he spoke about the importance of CSOs that work with vulnerable groups, and how they can be partners in the education system and other institutions, and employees of the institutions should work with vulnerable groups and cooperate with civil society organizations.
The conference was followed by a cocktail where participants had an opportunity for experience exchange and networking.
PEOPLE LIVING WITH HIV WITHOUT THERAPY
Nearly 1000 people living with HIV receiving treatment at the Clinic for infectious and tropic diseases are without medications
Belgrade, May 20, 2013 – Due to the current mediation stock out in Serbia, nearly 1000 people living with HIV are left without medications. These patients receive continuous treatment on the VI ward of the Clinic for infectious and tropic diseases, but at this moment they are in a very difficult situation. If the circumstances do not change soon, the treatment of all the patients on this ward will be interrupted at least for the next week.
In the pharmacy “Clinical center” which is a part of the Belgrade Pharmacies Company, and which is the only one were people living with HIV could get their medication - no longer has any medications. According to all protocols and guidelines, therapy breaks are not allowed and can have negative consequences for the health of people living with HIV. Therapy breaks can lead to development of resistance to medication and make treatment more difficult. Treatment options are limited in Serbia for people treated for HIV, so changing treatments when one becomes ineffective is very difficult. Along with putting lives of infected at risk, this stock out increases the danger of transmission to others.
Considering these facts, the Association Q-Club is making an appeal to the institutions in charge to see the gravity and urgency of this problem, and find an adequate solution for the good of those affected by this difficult illness, and for the good of the public health.
Civil association Q-Club has been actively dedicated to basic problems in the healthcare system which people living with HIV face daily. Last year the association sent an open letter defining the five key problems people with HIV face to all relevant institutions and decision makers, those problems being: lack of recognition of HIV as a chronic disease, lack of modern HIV treatment options, irregular availability of diagnostic tests, disrespect of confidential patient data and discrimination of people living with HIV by medical service providers.
According to official data, there are over 2,500 registered people living with HIV in Serbia, but this is considered to be underestimated, and this number is growing. Support of the state is necessary to reduce the prevalence and lethality primarily by implementing adequate prevention strategies and by properly treating people living with HIV.
For any further information please contact:
Nada Mićić Jelena Duković
Q -klub Executive Group
063 835 05 95, email@example.com 060 70 71 056, firstname.lastname@example.org
This announcement in Word document download here.