Learn from others
The Georgian Harm Reduction Network (GHRN) increased distributing of sterile injecting equipment and Naloxone to ensure that people who use drugs have sufficient supplies for at least 7 days. To avoid conflicts with the police, GHRN and the Georgian Centre for Disease Control informed all stakeholders about the need to continue harm reductions services also during the lockdown.
The harm reduction programme is being implemented continuously in Georgia within new circumstances related to COVID-19.
There is a new regulation for Substitution Programme. According to this new policy, a 5 days’ dose is being delivered to clients to avoid their everyday arrival at OST sites and support prevention measures. There is initiated a dialogue to increase number of take-home doses till 14.
Georgian Harm Reduction Network (GHRN) continues to provide HIV/HCV services by 16 harm reduction sites. There was issued a new methodological guideline ,,How to work within increased threat of COVID-19” to support harm reduction personnel to stay safe and ensure safety of their clients. According to new regulation HIV testing on blood sample is restricted at outreach work, but is maintained at the offices. Outreach workers mostly work on a distance mode. There is an increase in number of distributed materials to clients. This is a preferable number of sterile injecting equipment and Naloxone that is enough at least 1 week for the group of injectors.
Besides, informational and educational materials are prepared and delivered to targeted audience via online platforms, as well by printed ones which are delivered to clients.
In Tbilisi harm reduction sites handmade masks are prepared within the Global Fund project to address the lack of accessibility to medical masks and related materials. GHRN ensured procurement of needed supplies: sanitizers, disinfectants, latex gloves and masks for multiple use. To avoid complication with the Police during the state of Emergency that is taking place in Georgia, GHRN together with CDC Georgia has prepared an official letter notifying all the interested parties/institutions about the importance of uninterrupted work of harm reduction program within new circumstances.
This article was submitted by Marine Gogia of the Georgian Harm Reduction Network (GHRN) and was first uploaded to the HARM REDUCTION COVID-19 RESPONSE website of Correlation – European Harm Reduction Network. We thank Correlation for contacting GHRN and making it possible to present their actions also on the Save Lives- Protect People platform.
ზიანის შემცირების საქართველოს ქსელი
საქართველო, თბილისი, შარტავას 24, მე-3 სართული, ბინა 6.
Tel.: 2 37 21 60