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Ukraine: Using Video for Advocacy

As we wrote earlier, the main problems which the Ukrainian patients of opiate replacement therapy (ORT) face is the absence of continuity of the therapy in the medical establishments other then special ORT sites where patients have to personally come every day to receive the medication. This situation is true in most of the rejoins of Ukraine with a few exceptions.  Avoiding the abstinent syndrome many patients refuse from a treatment which requires staying in the hospital. Before joining the substitution therapy most of the patients had been injection drug users for many years, many of them are HIV and Hepatitis C positives, infected with TB and other infectious diseases, so the opportunity to receive a decent medical treatment is crucial for them.

As a part of advocacy efforts aimed on solving the issue with the continuity of ORT treatment, Ukrainian harm reduction activists produce videos which describe the situation around this problem, tell stories of real people who suffer because of inertness of the health care authorities and report the small successes in this regards.

The video produced by an activist of the Association of Substitution Treatment Advocates of Ukraine Igor Kuzmenko not only presents the personal stories of a patients suffering from the problem but also contains the quote from the medical doctor of Donetsk Methadone site saying how important the continuity of ORT treatment  is for her patients. The regional representative of the Association Natalia Zlenina talks about the steps the Association is making to change the situation for better. The video ends with the appeal to the society to help to solve the problem and the words “Don’t let us die”.

The video story of the ORT patient Elena is filmed by one of the hero of the previous post Eugene Selin. The sad story covers a yearlong battle of the  Donetsk harm reduction NGO ‘Our Victory’ with local health care authorities to help Elena to receive the Methadone in the hospital where she needs to stay because of the surgery she requires. Unfortunately, this struggle has not brought any results yet.

The video posted by the activist of the NGO ‘Chance’ from Sumy could be viewed a small success story. The hero of the video was an active injections drug user and started the ORT treatment on the recommendation of his doctor in a TB clinic. Now he stays in TB hospital and is able to receive both TB and ORT treatment in the same place. 

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