We do our best to provide services

Ivan Anoshkin, coordinator of the street social work of NGO “Project April” (Tolyatti, Russia) talks about harm reduction activities of his organization at COVID-19 time.

For reference:

“Project April’ works in harm reduction. The main key groups are people who inject drugs and sex workers, but with changes on the drug scene and the emergence of different stimulants and salts, the organization got new client groups, particularly people practicing Chemsex. The organization employs 18 people and also has a large number of volunteers. “Project April” is recognized in Russia as a foreign agent.

Difficulties caused by COVID-19

Before the spread of the COVID-19 and the lockdown related to it, we used to receive our clients at our office every weekday. Anyone could come to get a consultation, HIV test or a harm reduction kit. We have always tried to provide the conditions for talking with our clients in a warm, comfortable atmosphere. Once the self-isolation regime was first introduced in Tolyatti in March, we had to completely close our office. However, seeing that after a few weeks it became clear that this regime could be extended over and over again, we decided that as a social organization, we cannot interrupt our activities indefinitely. Since then, one of the employees is in the office every working day to insure the provision of our regular services “on the spot”. Yet evidently, it is no longer possible for us to invite our clients to chat with them over a cup of tea, for the sake of their and our safety. Therefore, we are trying to provide our services at entrance.

Our work is largely focused on outreach and street work and in the current situation, this has had to be significantly reduced as well. For example, our employee went to a gay club every week where she developed trust relations with its visitors and maintained contacts with the community. With everything closed, this channel of communication is lost and this could negatively affect our current and potential clients. Finally, another significant obstacle that limits our activities during the crisis is a fear to cause more troubles to our clients by attracting unnecessary police attention to them.

Innovations

Under these circumstances, we have partially switched our activities to online. We are holding our work meetings on Skype. The visits we would do to rehabilitation centres every 1-2 months, we have also temporarily transferred to online. We agreed with administration of these centers to pre-deliver them brochures and HIV self-tests, and to organise our seminar via Skype afterwards. This way, patients have an opportunity to get tested and to get immediate information and support, even in these dark times.

What is more, to our clients we started to send and deliver harm reduction kits, HIV self–tests, and, if necessary, packages with basic products and goods. Basically, we already know places where our clients continue to gather. So we deliver our kits and packages there directly, based on their precise needs. For our employees, volunteers and active participants who continue to work, we purchase masks, gloves and disinfectants.

In times of crisis like this, our clients have more demand for social and psychological support as well. For this purpose, we have a service taxi that allows our employees to come to clients to provide social assistance and products of first necessity. And if necessary, we also deliver ARV therapy to clients, with their written agreement.

Certainly, due to the self-isolation regime and the hostile atmosphere in general, the number of new clients decreases, but not as significantly as we had feared. When you have already been working with harm reduction for this many years, the members of community know you. And we should also not underestimate the power of the word of mouth, that stays efficient at all times. Even now, newcomers visit our office at the recommendation of our clients.

What’s next?

This crisis has shown us how important it is to keep in touch with our clients not only live, but online as well. This way we stay in permanent contact. Hence, in the future we are hoping to have a possibility to hire a person whose work will be devoted only to managing social media and maintaining contact with our client through messengers on a regular basis.

We also really hope to offer some financial compensation to our employees, who continue to “work in the field” at their own peril and risk, especially as some of them – as I do – have a fairly low CD4 level.

Global Prison Trends 2020

Penal Reform International released a document Global Prison Trends 2020.
Global Prison Trends 2020 documents the chronic issues that have led to this human rights and public health crisis and the challenges facing criminal justice systems in responding to the global pandemic.

The report documents a record 11 million people in prison worldwide, with over 124 prisons exceeding their maximum occupancy rate. Global Prison Trends shows how this increase in numbers is driven by a punitive approach to criminal justice where more costly prison sentences are favoured over non-custodial alternatives.
The overcrowding and underfunding of prisons, alongside the overuse of imprisonment, has resulted in poor health services and sanitary conditions for prisoners that make people in prison and prison staff acutely vulnerable to COVID-19.
The special focus of Global Prison Trends 2020 identifies the solution presented by increasing the use of alternatives to imprisonment and the challenges governments may face in implementing this. PRI advocates for an increase in the use of alternatives to detention as a solution to the global prison crisis and in the long-term to reduce reoffending rates, better protect human rights and tackle overcrowding.

Global Prison Trends 2020 explores the following subjects:
– Crime, justice and imprisonment
– Trends in the use of imprisonment, including the funding of penitentiary systems
– Prison populations such as women, children, older persons and minority groups
– Prison management including the provision of health services
– The role and use of technology in prison
– A special focus on alternatives to imprisonment

Read the document

Executive-Summary-GPT-English

How COVID-19 quarantine measures affect LGBT community NGOs working in the field of HIV prevention

Eurasian Coalition on Health, Rights, Gender and Sexual Diversity  (ECOM) published a report on how the COVID-19 epidemic affects the work of LGBT organizations working on HIV prevention and support in the CEECA region.

In April 2020, ECOM conducted a rapid situation assessment to determine how the COVID-19 epidemic and related quarantine measures affect LGBT NGOs working in the field of HIV prevention and on other sexual health issues in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia (CEECA).
The organization sought to find out how the work of NGOs has changed due to quarantine measures; to what extent do organizations have the resources to survive in emergency situations; what are they doing to ensure the safety of their clients and staff; and what do they feel is important to do in the future in order to reduce the risks associated with epidemics similar to COVID-19.
33 respondents from 25 cities in 11 CEECA countries participated in the assessment.

The assessment showed that many community organizations in the region have stopped offline work with clients (19 of the 33 respondents participating in the assessment). For 54% of organizations, the number of clients in the first month of quarantine fell by more than half.

In the first month after the introduction of restrictive measures, organizations most often reduced HIV and STI testing services – 39% and 30% of respondents respectively. 27% of respondents reduced the provision of condoms and lubricants, and another 24% curtailed counseling and support services on various issues (in connection with HIV testing and prevention, and psychological support for various subgroups, including PLH).

Only less than half (48%) of respondents stated that their organizations feel confident in the current environment. A significant number fear that if quarantine is extended, they will have to start laying off employees. Some have already begun cutting salaries or the number of staff, while 6% have completely stopped operating.

Nevertheless, the majority of organizations are continuing to operate and are looking for ways to adapt to conditions under quarantine. The main area for adaptation entails transferring services online. Work in this area began a long time ago; before the quarantine, half of the organization surveyed already covered 50% or more of their clients with online services. The primary service offered to clients online is various forms of counseling. All respondents noted the importance of developing various kinds of online and contactless services, including support and education services, and the delivery of ARV therapy drugs to clients’ homes.

Respondents proposed measures to increase the sustainability and security of organizations, for example, by abandoning large, common spaces in offices, forming mini-teams of employees whose working hours do not overlap, or by arranging client reception via appointment only. In addition, respondents consider it important to take into account the administrative and programmatic risks associated with epidemics similar to COVID-19 when planning their work and budget, and to develop the coordination of work with local medical institutions and administrations, as well as with international organizations.

Read the report here

EECA’s response to COVID-19. Prison health.

Evgeniy Yuldashev, peer consultant and social worker, AFEW Kyrgyzstan, about work with (ex) prisoners. 

For reference:

For three years, Evgeniy has been working as a peer consultant with people who are released from prisons and are getting ready for the release with AFEW Kyrgyzstan. His work is to provide support to (ex) prisoners, tell them how to adapt to the social environment and live a full life with HIV and any co-morbidities, such as tuberculosis or hepatitis C.

Changes due to COVID-19

Currently, Bishkek and other big cities of Kyrgyzstan live in the state of emergency. So far, there have been no cases registered in any correctional facilities. The penitentiary system implements a set of measures to avoid any outbreaks of COVID-19 in prisons. First of all, it means that all prisons are closed for visitors, including AFEW Kyrgyzstan staff members. Since 20 March 2020, our peer consultants have not been visiting any institutions.

Fortunately, some of our team members work as social workers in the correctional facilities. Besides, in each institution there are 2-3 volunteers (navigators) from among the prisoners. Thus, we are still able to remain in contact with the prisoners.

Innovations

Currently, one of our key priorities is prevention of the spread of coronavirus.

Prisoners are one of the populations most vulnerable to the new virus. The experience of other countries shows that in prisons the epidemic develops as a fire destroying everything on its way. It can be explained with the living conditions in prisons – overcrowded cells of the detention centers and cramped prison barracks do not allow for social distancing or self-isolation.

In fact, prison life has not really changed – inspections twice a day, waiting lines in the canteens and even long waiting lines in methadone dispensing sites…

From our side, we try to make our contribution to prevent any outbreaks in prisons. The first vital thing to be done is organizing awareness-raising activities. We started with our target group – prisoners who live with HIV. Through our project WhatsApp group and during our telephone calls, we regularly share information about coronavirus with the social workers which they can further share with the prisoners.

There is still a lack of studies on the virus, but the available data shows that HIV-positive people with suppressed viral load and high immunity status do not face a higher risk of infection than the general population. That is why our social workers and volunteers continue their efforts to enroll prisoners into the ART programs and ensure their adherence to treatment in close cooperation with the prison health workers.

As a peer consultant, I always stay in touch with the social workers and through them with the volunteers. We regularly organize phone calls and WhatsApp chats. As they say we are keeping our eyes on the ball. If prisoners have any questions, they can address them with our team through the social workers.

However, it will not be enough to inform people living with HIV to avoid any possible outbreaks. With support of our partners from the UNDP, we prepared a small information brochure, which will help people to learn more about COVID-19, its prevention, symptoms and treatment, and provided the published materials to the Prison Service.

Besides, we received a request for support from the prison administration to facilitate the procurement of personal protective equipment, disinfectants, etc. We submitted this request to our partners from ICAP, who will ensure the procurement of all the necessary supplies.

We are also looking for additional funding to roll out the response to the epidemic. Many prisoners complain about the lack of basic hygiene items. Today it is more important than ever to clean your hands and keep your towel clean. However, unfortunately such people do not always have access to a sufficient stock of such basic things as soap and laundry powder. We are in the process of negotiations with GIZ about the possibility to procure such materials and conduct large-scale awareness-raising activities covering not only prisoners but also prison staff as because of their work duties they are also at high risk of contracting the virus.

So we are keeping ourselves busy and make all the efforts to help our beneficiaries live through this challenging period of time.

 

The ViiV Healthcare Global HIV and COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund

ViiV Healthcare announced £3 million global fund to research the impact of COVID-19 on the HIV community and fill gaps in prevention, treatment and care during the pandemic.

ViiV Healthcare announced the creation of the Global HIV and COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund. The £3 million fund will make available critical financial resources for research projects to study the medical and scientific impact COVID-19 is having on people living with HIV and community-based grants to help address specific challenges to the HIV community created by the global pandemic.

The ViiV Healthcare Global HIV and COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund will be divided equally between two programmes and grants will be available through a request for proposal (RFP) process. The Research Emergency Response Fund will make available up to £1.5 million to support scientific research about the impact of COVID-19 on people living with HIV. The Community Emergency Response Fund will make available up to £1.5 million to support community-based activities that address the specific challenges faced by people living with HIV during this pandemic.

Research Emergency Response Fund
To help improve the understanding and management of the COVID-19 pandemic in people living with HIV, ViiV Healthcare is inviting research proposals within three priority areas of interest that include epidemiology and real-world data, healthcare systems management initiatives in COVID-19 environments, and biomarkers indicative of disease susceptibility, severity, and progression.

Successful proposals will be awarded grants from the £1.5 million Research Emergency Response Fund to undertake independent research through ViiV Healthcare’s existing Investigator Sponsored Studies (ISS) programme.  Requests for proposals will be open from 27 April through 18 May. The proposals will be reviewed by an internal ViiV Healthcare scientific panel and successful applicants notified by 5 June.

Community Emergency Response Fund
ViiV Healthcare will seek applications from community organisations to support their work in addressing the specific challenges that have arisen for people living with HIV or affected by HIV as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Through the £1.5 million Community Emergency Response Fund, grants will be made available to support ongoing access to critical HIV prevention, care and outreach services, differentiated models of service delivery, short term payments for critical community staff, and community monitoring and feedback on the impact of COVID-19 to HIV services and support.  The Community Emergency Fund is not intended for the purchase of pharmaceutical products.

The Community Emergency Response Fund will support existing grantees of ViiV Healthcare’s Positive Action or Government Affairs (GA) or Global Public Health (GPH). Requests for proposals will be open from 27 April through 15 May. The proposals will be reviewed by an internal ViiV Healthcare panel and successful applicants notified by 25 May.

More information here.

At our own risk. EECA’s reponse to COVID-19.

Yuri Avdeev, Chairman of the Board of the Chelyabinsk City Public Organization “Independent Research Center “There is an opinion”, Russia

For your information:

The independent research center “There is an opinion” has been working in the field of prevention of socially dangerous diseases and research of various aspects of social life since 2000. The Center works to reduce the spread of socially dangerous diseases, such as HIV infection, tuberculosis and sexually transmitted infections; provides assistance in overcoming psychological and communication problems (difficulties in communication, self-confidence); assistance in disclosing personal qualities, self-fulfillment of personality; socio-psychological, informational assistance to people living with HIV and TB, as well as their significant environment.

At present, the “There is an opinion” centre is the largest operator of rapid HIV testing in the Urals. Every year 19,000 residents of the Chelyabinsk Region and its border areas become clients of the programme. The main target groups are men who have sex with men (MSM), transgender people (TG), people who use drugs (PWUD) and the general population.

Difficulties caused by the virus

For five years our organization has been working in the context of HIV prevention with MSM/TG. Weekly on Fridays, two teams of specialists (psychologist + nurse) worked in two nightclubs for LGBT people, carrying out rapid HIV testing, pre- and post-test counseling, distributing prevention information materials, condoms and lubricants, and accompanying identified clients to be registered with the AIDS Center. Due to the announcement of the self-isolation regime, nightclubs are closed, so we are no longer able to continue our normal work at their base. The testing room is also closed.

Unfortunately, this situation paralyzed the work of our organization and most of the activities were stopped. Many people go online, but we should understood that online counselling, for example, will not replace HIV testing and the issuance of condoms and lubricants.

Innovations

On April 7th, at our own risk, we reopened the testing room in the evening, because we received a request from clients for testing and obtaining condoms and lubricants. The cooperation with the AIDS Center helped us to do this. In addition, today we are delivering ARVT drugs for HIV+ patients in Chelyabinsk, including MSM. We have received special passes for being in the city.

We have noticed that those who receive ART at home are even happy about it, because now they do not have to take a ticket and wait in line. However, nightclub visitors are not very happy with these innovations, but the most motivated members of the community themselves come to the testing room to receive HIV prevention and testing.

In our work we try to follow all the necessary recommendations of the regional Government: the reception is held by appointment; social distance is respected; precautions are taken – specialists work with masks, gloves and glasses, the client is given a mask; surfaces are wiped with a disinfector; washing of the room takes place every 2 hours.

Of course, statistics for our activities have fallen. Whereas we used to serve up to an average of 100 MSM/TG per month, now the number has dropped by almost 5 times.

What’s next?

Today we are thinking about self-testing. We only work with blood tests, and today it is not the most convenient option. So we’re negotiating with donors to buy saliva tests.

EECA’s reponse to COVID-19

Alexander Chebin, project coordinator at the Regional Public Foundation “New Life”, Yekaterinburg, Russia.

For reference

“New Life” Foundation has been working in Yekaterinburg in the field of AIDS prevention and control, assistance to different categories of population since 2011. The key groups are (ex) prisoners, migrants, drug users, sex workers, people affected by HIV, tuberculosis, hepatitis.

Difficulties due to the virus

Currently, we have suspended our activities on fast HIV and hepatitis outreach testing, activities in rehabilitation centers, penal inspections, police departments, federal enforcement agency system and other organizations.

Since the introduction of the country’s self-isolation regime, representatives of our key groups have found themselves in new realities – for example, their level of anxiety has significantly increased, including with regard to treatment and care. Also we have received many requests for psychological support. Due to changing economic circumstances, people have developed a lot of fears – they are afraid of losing their jobs and uncertainty in the future. We have already analyzed our work during 2 weeks of self-isolation. The number of requests through the means of communication increased several times. Our employees conduct consultations, provide psychological support and accompany participants “by phone”, through various messengers. This is especially important for people released from prisons, who do not have the skills to apply to government agencies using Internet resources.

Innovations

Fortunately, in a pandemic, our work does not stop. However, due to the virus and quarantine measures, we had to go online and interact with our participants remotely, through communications channels.

Due to the new rules of patient’s admission, the management of the AIDS Centre decided to involve volunteers to help in the delivery of life-saving antiretroviral therapy. Thus, since March 30, our employees have been actively involved in this process. Our two staff members take calls and consult people on how to register delivery. With the help of the Foundation’s car with a driver health workers are delivered to clients. Also, 3 employees and 1 “New Life”s volunteer drive their cars to deliver ARV therapy.

In addition, the Foundation does not stop providing legal and social assistance to people, doing it remotely. Also, we accompany people released from prison to medical organizations, help to deliver food packages, clothes. In case of emergency, one of our employees collects the kits for participants at our drop-in centre and delivers them to their homes with all necessary security measures.

In the future, we plan to go back to the way we used to work, assess and reflect on our experience in the pandemic and perhaps make adjustments to some aspects of our work.

 

ICPCovid-HIV study

As the Covid-19 containment measures ramp up around the world, different countries implement different strategies, and health systems are overwhelmed to varying degrees. Generating high-quality evidence on the impact of Covid-19 and related measures on both the quality of life and the management of HIV in different settings, will help provide guidance for decision-making and better preparedness in case of future pandemics.

In this light, researchers based at the University of Antwerp (Belgium) have designed a small study in collaboration with Sensoa and EATG to investigate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on HIV care and the well-being of persons living with HIV (PLHIV).

Aims of the ICPCovid-HIV study:

1. To identify possible consequences of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic on the quality of life of PLHIV

2. To assess access of PLHIV to healthcare services and HIV treatment

3. To compare the impact of different Covid-19 containment measures in different countries on the quality of life and management among PLHIV

4. To identify associations between specific antiretroviral regimens and Covid-19 incidence and/or Covid-19 clinical outcomes

More information – here. 

Attention, Uzbekistan! Submit Applications for COVID-19 Challenge 2020

On the 7th of April an online competition of innovative tools and solutions for mitigating the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, was launched. In the framework of this competition innovators from all over Uzbekistan can collaborate and create innovations, combining knowledge, technology, entrepreneurial skills to help those who were affected in one way or another by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This competition is aimed at helping the most vulnerable people, and not at finding and implementing projects trying to solve clinical / scientific problems.

Directions

  • Health: Ideas and technologies in the field of healthcare (promotion of behavioral initiatives to prevent the spread of the disease / improve hygiene, providing support to medical workers at the forefront, telemedicine, contact tracking / isolation strategies, development of treatment and diagnosis methods, alternative methods of manufacturing the necessary medical devices).
  • Vulnerable groups: Ideas and solutions should be aimed at solving the problems of a group of people most affected by the outbreak of COVID-19 due to the presence of various medical, economic and social characteristics, for example, due to health problems or social difficulties, the application of measures of social adaptation and protect people who have lost their jobs / sources of income, especially among women.
  • Entrepreneurship and Employment: Project proposals for resolving issues of promoting and supporting local enterprises, protecting them from bankruptcy, searching for new effective cooperation measures, new markets and transferring part of their business and services to the “online” / Internet mode, changing or adapting business models, saving jobs, especially for women.
  • Community: Ideas to strengthen communication with friends, family, and neighbors to overcome the problems of social isolation and distance; solutions to support remote work or job search; online and offline tools to bring those in need with those who can help; assistance to people who do not have Internet access; the provision of psychological, legal services, child care services online; digitization of public services for local governments.
  • Education: Projects involving the development and implementation of alternative platforms and tools for students, teachers and entire school systems; digitization of education and training; expanding learning opportunities; virtual lessons, distance learning for children, students and people with disabilities, start-up entrepreneurs, start-up initiatives and the unemployed, the basics and skills of entrepreneurship, vocational training and retraining of workers and modern professions and skills (future skills), especially for women.
  • Awareness raising and behavior patterns: Awareness raising and behavioral ideas Ideas and projects aimed at raising awareness or allowing the formation of the right behavior patterns, such as how to detect fake news and verify information, are welcomed; what solutions and tools need to be created so that they remind people to wash or treat their hands with an antiseptic when entering a new building, or they warned or did not allow them to touch their faces.
  • Leisure: It is supposed to support projects that could become an alternative to traditional forms of entertainment and would help ensure the safety and health of skills and audiences, encourage physical activity, and counteract the psychological crisis through playful approaches.
  • Other: Here you can offer solutions and ideas that are not covered by previous topics. They invite innovators to offer solutions for any other topics that you think are important and should be included. So, generate your ideas and feel free to think outside the box!

Eligibility Criteria

Any person, whether it’s an inventor, an IT specialist, a student, a private sector representative, a project manager, a scientist or even a person with a rich imagination, innovative thinking, who wants to change something, can take part, individually or in a team, to show how various problems can be solved with the help of creative tools and technologies. You can create everything you can imagine. Let your creativity help society in this difficult time.

Competition Format

  • Filing Applications: The nature of the Covid-19 pandemic requires the rapid implementation of innovative solutions. Interested parties and companies are invited to register and submit the idea of the proposed technological solution by filling out an online form. Then there will be an overview of the projects. Successful teams will be invited to an online interview.
  • Selection: Innovators who have passed the interview will undergo mentoring (online moderation and brainstorming) and do preliminary defense of the project until the final selection and conclusion of the contract. At least 5 selected projects will be supported by financial contributions of up to US $ 10,000 provided by partners for testing and further implementation of the proposed technological solutions. Selected projects will also be widely represented on other platforms.
  • Implementation: Upon completion of the trial and trial period, the organizers and partners will consider the best approach for further development of solutions so that they can best help people during an emergency. The organizers will work with the Special Republican Commission to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 to ensure that the most effective solutions can receive further funding and implementation to achieve the maximum possible effect during the current crisis.

Selection Criteria

  • Feasibility decision: How relevant is the use of a prototype for a real problem? Does it really work? How complete is the product? Can a prototype scale as a real solution with multiple users?
  • Degree of innovation: The degree of innovation and creativity of the solution and the proposed approach. Are there already solutions or are there similar solutions? What is the difference?
  • Social Value and influence: The usefulness that the decision brings to society. It also matters whether the solution is open source so that others can adapt and rely on it, members of the project team. Impact on the situation and target group.
  • Team: Founder & Team Potential

Requirements for Applications

  • Applications must contain the data of the initiator and team members, a description of the project, what problem the product solves and what direction / track it corresponds to.
  • Submissions should include at least the project and a technical prototype or simulation, where applicable, with a description of the time and resources needed to implement the project.
  • The organizers urge participants to disclose the source codes / sources of their materials in order to share and promote their innovations with a wide range of partners and the public.

For more information, visit COVID-19 Challenge.

Response of AFEW Kyrgyzstan to COVID-19

COVID-19 rapidly spreading around the world requires urgent and decisive actions. AFEW Kyrgyzstan quickly responded to the emerging threat and prepared the support measures, which can help the key populations in this challenging time. Natalia Shumskaya, director of AFEW Kyrgyzstan, told AFEW International about them.

Social bureau for women living with HIV

The social bureau for women living with HIV offering peer support services as well as consultations of psychologists and social workers continues its operation during the lockdown. Before the state of emergency was announced, most people living with HIV (PLWH) in the city received Antiretroviral therapy (ARVs) for up to three months. If people were not able to come and pick up their medications, the social worker brought them to their homes. However, PLWH still need ARVs, so every day a representative of our organization brings such medications to two or three addresses using an official vehicle of the AIDS centre.

Nutritional support

About one-third of PLWH in Kyrgyzstan live in poverty. People who used to earn money for their living with odd jobs are now left without any sources of income and have urgent needs in food products, hygiene items, diapers for their babies and mobile charge cards to stay connected. Every day, the psychologist from the AIDS Centre gives calls to women living with HIV and provides them with psychological support. If people need food, the psychologist gives them contact details of the Bishkek district headquarters for them to receive humanitarian aid. We have sent a request to the Red Crescent Society of Kyrgyzstan asking them to allocate food packages for 40 women living with HIV.

In community centres for women with substance abuse problems, there was also a need in masks, disinfectants and food packages, so we procured all the needed materials to comply with the infection control measures from our project budget.

Psychological support

Three psychologists of our organization continue providing psychological support over the phone and using WhatsApp. Mostly they are contacted by women with severe anxiety, panic attacks or those who faced domestic violence. Some women have relatives with mental health problems. Besides, we received phone calls from young people with drug abuse problems.

Young people help!

There is a volunteer headquarters launched in the youth centre together with the National Agency for Youth and Physical Culture. People working at the organization and other city residents make donations to a special account to procure food products for those in need. Our Champions for Life from the Dance4life programme signed up as volunteers and deliver the humanitarian aid.

For prisoners

We procured and provided to the National Law Enforcement Service two thousand masks, 850 kg of bleach, and 50 bottles of antiseptics for the prisoners.   Besides, we developed leaflets for prisoners and prisons staff. Soon brochures will be published and distributed among the prisons.

We are currently carrying out negotiations with different donors and I hope that in the nearest future we will be able to raise more funds to support the National Law Enforcement Service.   We are waiting for the response from the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) concerning our project proposal on carrying out training sessions for prisoners and non-medical personnel working in prisons on COVID-19 and on procuring soap and laundry detergent for prisoners.

Due to the physical contact being impossible, our peer consultant (PLWH) provides support to the prisoners living with HIV remotely, through phone calls.

For reference

As of today, there are 144 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and one registered death in Kyrgyzstan.

Since March 25, the government declared the state of emergency. A curfew has been introduced, so people are not allowed to leave their homes after 8 p.m. In the daytime, there can be only three reasons to go outside: to a supermarket, pharmacy or to visit a doctor provided that the person has an itinerary sheet. Public transport and taxi services are closed.