Harm Reduction International and the International Network of People who Use Drugs (INPUD) urge international donors, philanthropic organisations and national governments to safeguard funding for harm reduction during COVID-19.
In advance of the Global Fund Board Meeting on 14 and 15 May 2020, HRI and INPUD commend the Global Fund Board and Secretariat for their leadership and proactive steps to support national responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, and urge them ensure that COVID-19 emergency funding is directed to, and serves the most vulnerable people in our society, including people who use drugs.
This means harm reduction services must be recognised as essential services during COVID-19. Funds must be provided to ensure services can adapt to lockdown and physical distancing measures, including ensuring harm reduction service providers, outreach workers and clients have personal protective equipment.
This also means prioritising community leadership. Communities have demonstrated their unique ability to react quickly to reach those who are otherwise unreachable during the pandemic, and have effectively eased some of the burden on the broader healthcare system.