Since its creation in 2002, the Global Fund has invested over 1.8 Billion USD in the response to the HIV epidemic in the EECA region and had contributed to growing (though still inadequate) access to prevention, treatment, care and support services for people in the region including people who inject drugs. As the economic status in many EECA countries grew in recent years, donor funding, including from the Global Fund has receded. As donor funds dry up, countries tend neglect to support services targeting key populations such as harm reduction programs for people who inject drugs.
To help countries prepare to transition from reliance on donor funds to public funding for HIV, the Eurasian Harm Reduction Network (EHRN) embarked on the Regional Program, “Harm Reduction Works – Fund it!,” targeting Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Lithuania and Tajikistan. The program built the capacity of communities to define services needed and their cost and advocate for inclusion of adequate funding in state HIV budgets for harm reduction services. To complement this program, EHRN held a series of seminars for CCM representatives including those representing key populations and civil society to inform them the results of the program so far and further build their capacity to plan for transition and civil society involvement therein.
A total of 105 people, including 32 CCM members, participated in seminars held in Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan. The seminars were tailored to specific country needs but each enabled learning about the current situation in the country and made space for forming vision of what steps should be taken in the future to support adequate funding of harm reduction services and involvement of affected communities in the transition process.