Following his visit to Serbia and our Q-club in October last year, Mr Mihajlo Raskovic, HIV/AIDS activist and renowned member of the German NGO Netzwerk Plus recognised needs and problems people living with HIV in his native country face. Having returned to Germany he organized collection of aid relief, which we are now able to distribute together.
Тhe humanitarian aid is comprised of medical supplies (including medicines) – overall value of over 30.000 euro – has been delivered, via the Q-club, to the Clinic for infection and tropic diseases in Belgrade, where it will be further distributed to the HIV patients in need.
This was the first shipment of all the considerable aid collected in Germany, while the further shipments will come in the following period. This aid is invaluable for people without a viable therapy option in Serbia.
We are very grateful to the solidarity and dedication of our German peers!
The Minister of Health of Republic of Serbia, Dr Zoran Stankovic was guest of the journalist Ljubica Gojgic in her show “Izmedju dve vatre” on TV B92, on Friday, March 9 2012. The Minister replied to all question about treatment and medicine stock-outs in Serbia, and particularly those for cancer, hepatitis C and HIV. When asked about HIV medicine stock-outs, the Minister said that he is only aware of the fact that only 10% of patients don’t have medicines available, and he confirmed that the Republic Healthcare Fund is working of including those medicines on the positive list. The Minister further objected that the patients don’t turn to the Ministry with the problem, but go to the media.
The Q-club has contacted the Ministry on these issues, but apart from the letter we have reported on – we got no feedback from them. We will continue to insist that the Ministry of Health first acknowledges the problems PLHIV face, and then to work on solving them.
The entire show can be seen online on http://www.b92.net/video/video.php?nav_category=1337&nav_id=589702
tkv, tkv, tkv, tkv, tkv, tkv, tkv...
Street artist known as TKV, renowned for her numerous graffiti on Belgrade walls has enhanced offices of the Q-Club. Members of the Q-club are big fans of TKV’s work, and we have asked her to do this.
TKV decided to do a collage of faces of well known people living with HIV including Magic Johnson, Easy E, Freddie Mercury and Magi Stefanovic. The collage was placed on a special place in our offices, and apart from it, a set of TKV graffiti has beautified the entrance to our offices.
TKV you rock, thank you!!!
The Ministry of Health of Republic of Serbia has sent an official written reply to our organization to the open letter the Q-club has sent to all relevant institutions in our country. The letter was signed by the Deputy Minister, Dr Dubravka Šaranović Racić, and it concerns only one of the five key issues people in Serbia we have identified. All of the issues are in exclusive or partial jurisdiction of the Ministry. That makes the Ministry one of the pivotal institutions for solving those problems. But the ministry has only responded to the problem of lack of modern therapies for HIV treatment. In the reply the Ministry said, among other things, that the list of the Republic Healthcare Fund contains 23 different medicines, thus providing “very good” availability of modern medication.
The complete letter can be found here
The list of the Republic Healthcare Fund is available on: http://www.lat.rfzo.rs/index.php/lista-lekova/pretraga-liste-lekova.html. It is obvious that the list contains only 14 different medicines for HIV treatment, and if we take a look at the brands of the same medicine, there are even less. No new medicines (molecules) have been added to the list since 2004. So it is obvious that our system doesn’t have and needs most of the HIV treatment medicines according to the national guidelines for HIV treatment, adopted by our national HIV/AIDS committee. A lot of medicines that are missing are from the first line of treatment, which is the initial therapeutic option. Thus, we can’t talk about having modern therapies – furthermore we don’t even have the basic one available.
What is puzzling is whether a reply like this was given out of ignorance or an attempt of intentional deception of us as patients. Anyway this kind of behavior of key stakeholders is tragic and unacceptable. The Ministry of health has the obligation to provide basic healthcare and equal conditions of treatment for all citizens, which includes people living with HIV. Therefore there is no treatment availability if more than 10% of patients can’t get an adequate therapy or no therapy whatsoever – threats of infection spreading and consequences to public health are even bigger.
So we insist that the Ministry of Health explains this reply and to elaborate the significance of the reply they gave us, as well as to say what will be done on solving this and the other problems we have presented in our open letter.
Members of our Q-club have met with the Deputy Commissioner for Information of Public Importance and Personal Data Protection, Mr. Aleksandar Resanović and the Head of the Cabinet, Ms. Nevena Ružić, on February 14 2012.
The meeting was organized as a response to our open letter on key problems of PLHIV in Serbia, and in this case we have discussed healthcare for people living with HIV, and protection information on their HIV status. We were welcomed and encouraged to use the Law on free Access to Information of Public Importance. Our hosts have concluded that all five issues we pressed in our open letter belong in the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Health, but they wanted to be informed about issues and problems PLHIV in Serbia face, particularly on breaching of their privacy.
We have discussed the impending problems of electronic medical documentation and database, and challenges the new medical documents will bring. We have particularly stressed the issue of how the PLHIV register is being maintained, and the lack of regulations for this.
Our hosts have warned us that there is a lack of regulations for working with sensible personal data, where health status data which includes health status data. Such regulations were drafted, but the Government didn’t adopt even though the legal deadline has run out, and this issue was pressed by the Commissioner several times.
Our hosts have taken upon themselves to further pursue the issue of dealing with medical records and their protection in the future, so that all the citizens could be adequately protected, particularly when stigmatized illnesses are concerned.