Response stories

Case from Moldova at the HEALTH SUSTAINABILITY FORUM in Istambul

On December 11, 2021, Istanbul hosted the international HEALTH SUSTAINABILITY FORUM: HIV and COVID-19 in EECA countries.

Among the other topics presented within the forum, there was also introduced a case from Moldova, regarding a patient who fought for his rights to access the HIV prevention and treatment services using the REAct electronic system. On the strength of the collaboration of the coordinating team of the National HIV Program and partnership organizations with the Chief Narcologist of Moldova there was set up the opening of a substitution therapy point in Orhei city.

By the case of the above mentioned example, it was presented how to systematically and comprehensively affect the environment of legacy of the whole country in order to reduce legal boundaries in reference to the vital health services.

Nikolay, the patient involved in the aforementioned example, was invited to the forum along with Alexander, the reactor of the happening situation, who documented the case and was the driving force in his decision.

We have collected signatures, wrote letters, but even the all-out effort we made nothing worked… At the beginning of 2020, I found out that a parajurist just started working in our city, so I decided to give it one last shot and expound him upon the problem, even tough many had already given up and could not imagine that another attempt could make it over.

Nikolay, client of the OST program in Orhei

During the outreach work in Orhei city, several people, including Nikolai, informed me about the problem regarding the OST site, or rather, about its absence and inconvenience that this absence leads to.

Analyzing the stories, I flagged obvious elements of a violation of the rights of people who take drugs. Although at the first glance it seems that this is just a medical problem that requires as little as social support, in fact, in this situation, there is a clearly visible sign of violation of the right to health. In consequence, this problem can be puzzled out solely by connecting the levers of political influence.

For that reason, I decided that the already stated case should be entered into the REACT online system (I did it right on the spot from the phone), so that the coordinator and lawyer in Chisinau could immediately cast a look on this case online and get involved into solving the problem.

Alexander, Paralegal and REACTor at NGO “Positive Initiative”

Alexander, the parajurist declared that this means that through education and training, he gained basic knowledge about human rights, which allows him to determine which human rights are violated, whether a person is stigmatized or discriminated against to any grounds. He can also provide primary legal advice, help a person with the drafting of documents setting, complaints, reports to the police, accompany the client to law enforcement agencies or mediate between the parties to the conflict. In situations when he has lacks concerning his competencies, he requests the involvement of a professional lawyer through REACT.

It is important to mention that beside the training education of the parajurists, it is critical as well to qualify the members of the community, for the reason that they can not always identify that their rights are being violated, or that certain actions of the police are unacceptable. In such instances clients do not even seek for help, because they do not know that their rights have been mistreated.

Often manifestations of stigma and discrimination, especially in public institutions, whether medical or social institutions, can be effectively neutralized at the local level, I mean at the level of this institution. Stigma takes root in an unspoken generally accepted policy, a norm of behavior that subordinates practice, but the authorities do not stop. Therefore, in order to eradicate stigma and discrimination, actions are required in two directions: trainings for ordinary employees and conversations with the head of this institution in order to change the policies of the institution.

Ruslan Poverga, director of NGO “Positive Initiative”

I am grateful to Alexander and the whole team that worked on my case, and  as a whole working over the incidents of everyone who needed substitution therapy in Orhei city! Not only has my problem been solved, I was also lucky enough to visit such a wonderful city as Istanbul.

I am quiet sure I could never been able to visit this amazing city if not this chance.

Nikolay, client of the OST program in Orhei