The National Patients’ Organization of Bulgaria organized the First Conference on Health Inequalities in the New Member States with the support of the European Patients’ Forum and the ministry of Health of Bulgaria. The conference was held Sofia from 19. to 21. September. Health inequalities are recognized as a major problem throughout Europe, exacerbated by the current financial crisis.
The conference has gathered representatives of all healthcare stakeholder groups – policy makers and government officials, public health institutions, experts, doctors and other care providers, pharmacists, patients and journalists from the twelve new member states and five candidate and acceding countries. For the first time a Conference will address the challenge of health inequalities in the Southeastern region from the specific perspective of European and national policy makers as well as patients. Representing our Q-Club on the conference was Rade Kuzmanovic.
During the first day the conference participants had an opportunity to learn about some key problems healthcare in these countries face, but also to hear some good practices on how some of those problems were solved. Every talk was followed by a moderated discussion directed at discussing needs and gaps in national healthcare systems.
The second day was marked by workgroups during which the participants could contribute to finding solutions and forming proposals for some of the recognized problems. The topics of the workshops were “Meeting the real needs of patients”, “Policy making and institution reaction to curb health inequalities in the new EU member states in the next 5 years”, “How patients could be involved further in fighting against health inequalities in the new EU member states”.
The First Declaration on curbing health inequalities came out as a result of the discussions and the workgroups.
The Visit of the Delegation of the Global Fund was lead by Mr. Joshua Metcalf-Wallach, portfolio manager of the Fund for projects on prevention of tuberculosis and HIV, in charge for countries of West Balkan that receive support from the Global Fund.
On the meeting that lasted for almost three hours, the team of the Global Fund was introduced to the activities of Q-Club, and expressed a positive attitude about activities of our organization. That was the reason for choosing Q-Club as a part of their visits in the West Balkan region.
During this intensive meeting, representatives of Q-Club introduced the situation about HIV/AIDS in Serbia, functioning of projects supported by the Global Fund, and work of the CCM and some other institutions and organizations involved in the national response to HIV, particularly with the position of people living with HIV in Serbia.
Q-Club has been involved in programmes of the Global Fund and will continue to work their implementation with respect to the significance of the benefit the Global Fund brings to the countries which couldn’t adequately respond to HIV/AIDS challenges on their own.
Q-Club has sent a welcoming letter to the new minister of Health of Republic of Serbia, Ms. Slavica Đukić Dejanović. As we recognise the significance of the Ministry for the position of people living with HIV in Serbia, we wanted to present ourselves in the best possible way to the new Minister. With the letter we sent our wishes for successful and pleasant work as Minister, and presented the key problems of people living with HIV in the healthcare system. The letter in Serbian in PDF can be downloaded here.
After Novi Sad and Niš, carboard LGBT people had their demonstrations on the Republic Square in Belgrade, holding signs like “We don’t ask for special rights”, “Get to know me before you get to hate me”, “I’m proud to be alive”… One of the cardboard people was a police officer crossarmed, watching the “Demonstration of cardboard LGBT people”.
The police forces guarding this event also watched with their arms crossed as there were no incidents during this performance. Activists of the Gay Straight Alliance and the Q-Club are very happy with reactions of citizens of Belgrade, and we think that this action helped develop the dialogue with the citizens to increase the tolerance level towards LGBT people.
This performance is a part of the series of similar activities in cities throughout Serbia and the project “Together for equality of LGBT people” implemented by five organizations: Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA), as the principle project applicant, Gay Lesbian Info Center (GLIC), Center for Queer Studies (CKS), Loud and Queer and Q-Club, all of which working on LGBT rights in Serbia in their own way.
This project is a part of the “Calendar of human rights”, implemented by the the Directorate of Human and Minority Rights of the Ministry of Human and Minority Rights.
With the performance “Demonstrations of cardboard LGBT people” on the central square in Niš, our activities on fighting prejudices against LGBT population has continued.
The goal of the action was promotion of the equality principles, and non-violence towards the LGBG population. Among the cardboard people there were two with signs “HIV doesn’t choose sexual orientation” and “Stop prejudice and ignorance”, directed at raising awareness on HIV/AIDS.
Citizens of Niš have massively signed the visitor-book, talked to the activists of the Gay Straight Alliance and the Q-Club, and took the informational brochures. There were no incidents during the performance.
This performance in Novi Sad is a part of the tolerance promotion project “Together for equality of LGBT people”, comprised activities which will be done in cities around Serbia as a part of implemented by five organizations: Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA), as the principle project applicant, Gay Lesbian Info Center (GLIC), Center for Queer Studies (CKS), Loud and Queer and Q-Club.