Printer friendly version
Type of submission: Oral
Conference track: Practice
Topics: Community Mobilisation and Organising; Key Populations and Harm Reduction
Presenting author: Branislav Princip
How to obtain Harm reduction in the most vulnerable part of the population despite the drastically decreased sources of financing?
In the neighborhood of Belgrade and the nearby city of Pancevo there are around fifty urban Roma slums which populate 30.000 people. Besides socio-economical problems, extreme poverty and infrastructure dilapidation, there are 5.000 IDU with the tendency of increase among children and youth. The frequency of Hepatitis C is around 90%. Heroin of very bad quality is mostly used with the purity from 1% to 8%. After the Global Fond had left Serbia, the NGO which carried out the harm reduction in two drop-in centers in Belgrade and with mobile field units, stopped working. Now there is only a small drop-in center in Pancevo with very limited capacity.
The local community recognized the interest and has continued to finance this drop-in center, with no field units and fewer stuff engaged. The activists were determined to even increase the circle of users they accept. On the other hand, the Government has enabled Roma students, with the measures of positive discrimination, to easier enroll into public secondary schools comparing general population. A good number of volunteers from the Roma slums – the students of secondary medical school have been recruited because their engagement in the field is recognized as their practical training. They do the outreach work in the Roma slums, peer consulting and the needle exchange programme. The Roma language booklet was also published. Free dental consultations are also organized, in cooperation with the School of Dental Medicine and are performed by its students.
Thanks to this kind of cooperation with medical institutions and despite ten times smaller budget, then number of Harm Reduction users from the slums increased 40% compared to the time The Global Fond was here .