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By 2017, Kazakhstan will start self-financing harm reduction programs

On July 16, 2015, there was a presentation of the National Report “Harm reduction: arguments in favor of strategic investments” in Almaty.  The report was prepared by the ALE “Kazakhstan Association of People Living with HIV” in the framework of the regional program “Harm reduction works – Fund it!”.

It is expected that the document will be used to develop an HIV section in the “Integrated Health Development Program of Kazakhstan for 2016-2020” and development of “Transition plan for national funding of harm reduction programs in the 2016-2020”.

Among participants of the meeting were representatives of the Kazakhstan Association of People Living with HIV, Ministry of Health and Social Development of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Republican AIDS Centre, National Scientific and Practical Center of Medical and social problems of drug addiction, the non-governmental sector and international organizations – EHRN, USAID , UNAIDS, UNODC, project Implementation group of  Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM).

Participants noted that today in Kazakhstan there are needle exchange programs funded by both by the Government and the Global Fund, some of which are carried out on the basis of NGOs. These programs includes HIV prevention for nearly 60 percent of people who inject drugs (PIDs). There are 10 sites opioid substitution therapy (OST), provides  addiction treatment service for 358 patients. Programs run in a pilot level, which reduces their cost efficiency and limits the impact on the HIV reduction.

Until recently, funding for harm reduction programs were carried out by the international donors. In the next two years, this system will only be available for NGOs. By 2017, Kazakhstan must fully fund needle exchange and OST programs by itself. Today, therefore, it is strategically important to include the whole complex of measures on HIV prevention among PIDs in the “Program of Health of Kazakhstan on 2016-2020 years” simultaneously optimizing operating costs.

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