In 2014, Eurasian Harm Reduction Network (EHRN) has developed a specific Methodology for Service Monitoring, which allows regional communities to assess the quality and availability of harm reduction (HR) services and the needs to receive such services for people who use drugs (PWUD). Communities of PWUD in the six countries of the Regional Program "Harm Reduction Works - Fund It!“ (Lithuania, Georgia, Moldova, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Belarus) compiled a list of priority HR services, assessed their quality and developed recommendations on their improvement.
EHRN strives to make such assessments a regular practice and calls for inclusion of systematic PWUD community-based quality monitoring of harm reduction services into national monitoring and evaluation (M&E) systems in the sphere of HIV prevention or provision of HR services.
To make these plans a reality, EHRN is organizing a workshop to develop recommendations on the integration of community-based monitoring into the national monitoring and evaluation systems in the field of HIV/AIDS in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The workshop will take place in Vilnius, Lithuania, on 24-27 January 2017.
The Workshop will gather representatives of state institutions responsible for M&E systems of harm reduction services from each country of the project; representatives of NGOs – partners of the Regional Program, and PWUD representatives who took part in the assessment of the quality and availability of HR services in their countries.
The participants will be introduced to the importance of monitoring to ensure effectiveness of national responses to HIV/AIDS and other public health issues. They will also participate in hands-on group work analyzing specific country-related questions, like M&E systems, what they measure, as well as existing approaches to quality monitoring of HR services in their countries.
“Every country has some system of monitoring and evaluation in place, and those systems can be very complex. Moreover, important components, such as evaluation of quality of services can be missing. Planning this training was a long journey. We knew from the very beginning that the quality of services does matter, and only users of these services can evaluate their quality. Therefore, during this meeting, we will look at national M&E systems and try to see, where community-based monitoring and evaluation of quality of harm reduction services can be integrated.
The last two days of the workshop will be dedicated to the planning of specific actions for the PWUD communities in Georgia and Moldova. The plan is to select the most appropriate tools of M&E for each country and to determine a well-functioning chain of communication and support. We will also examine practical examples, try to determine how the quality of opioid substitution therapy (OST) in these two countries corresponds to international standards and learn how to use data for monitoring the quality of OST," – explains Jelizaveta Baranova, Strategy, Development and Governance Team Officer of EHRN.