Webinars: COVID-19 & HIV among people who use drugs and people in prison

The current COVID-19 pandemic constitutes a global health emergency and poses serious risks for certain groups of people, including people who use drugs and people in prison. Ensuring continued access to health care amidst this COVID-19 pandemic is crucial in order to curb its spread and public health interventions must pay attention to marginalized communities who are at particular risk of infection.

People in prison

On 4 June 2020, UNODC Regional Office in Southern Africa hosted a webinar to introduce global policy documents and guidelines on measures to prevent and control COVID-19 in prison settings. This video captures excerpts of this event with Christoforos Mallouris, Senior Adviser, UNAIDS Regional Support Team, Eastern and Southern Africa introducing the Joint statement on COVID-19 in prisons and other closed settings: Fabian Ndenzako, Medical Officer HIV/TB/Hepatitis WHO AFRO speaking about good practices in responding to COVID-19 in correctional settings; Abigail Noko, Noko, Regional Representative, OHCHR, advocating for human rights standards in correctional settings; and Ehab Salah, Adviser, Prisons and HIV, HIV/AIDS Section, introducing UNODC guidance on preventing and responding to COVID-19 in prison settings. Prison health is public health, and we need to embrace universal health coverage where prisons are integrated into community health-care services.

<div style="text-align:center">UN guidance on responding to COVID-19 in prisons in sub-Saharan Africa</div>
UN guidance on responding to COVID-19 in prisons in sub-Saharan Africa

 

People who use drugs

To address the challenges of providing HIV services to people who use drugs and people in prison amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, UNODC, jointly with WHO and UNAIDS, organized a series of regional webinars for decision makers and stakeholders.

The purpose of these webinars are to provide an opportunity for decision makers and stakeholders to share their experiences and best practices on providing continued access to life saving HIV services for people who use drugs and people in prison, while also implementing COVID-19 prevention and control measures.

Webinar #1: South Asia & South East Asia

One of the defining characteristics of the harm reduction community is its ability to rapidly adapt under adverse conditions. No more has this become apparent than in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The South Asia and South East Asia region webinar included presentations from Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, discussing the rapid expansion of take-home opioid substitution doses and its immediate success in bringing about a sustainable reduction in COVID-19 risk.

To view the entire webinar, click on the video the the right. To skip straight to a specific presentation, click on a presentation below: 

Webinar #2: Middle East and North Africa

The MENA region webinar brought together health decision makers from Afghanistan, Egypt, Iran, Lebanon, Morocco, Pakistan and Tunisia to discuss the initiatives put in place in their countries to overcome the barriers in delivering uninterrupted service provision and shifting to online counselling and support services. 

To view the entire webinar, click on the video the the right. To skip straight to a specific presentation, click on a presentation below: 

 
Webinar #3: Sub-Saharan Africa

The Sub-Saharan Africa region webinar included presentations from Kenya, Mauritius, Nigeria, South Africa and Tanzania.

The speakers emphasised on the acute challenges faced by women and of homeless people who use drugs. Restrictions of movement, a challenge requiring immediate attention, has been mitigated through mobile dose dispensing and the swift expansion of online services.

To view the entire webinar, click on the video the the right. To skip straight to a specific presentation, click on a presentation below: