FILM: COVID-19 outreach program for people who use drugs

INHSU and Kirketon Road Centre (KRC) welcomed over 100 people from across the globe for the online premiere of a short film that delved behind the scenes of KRC’s COVID-19 outreach program.

KRC is a walk-in, primary healthcare centre in Sydney, Australia, that focuses on vulnerable communities including people who use drugs and the homeless.

During COVID-19, the organisation adapted swiftly and introduced mobile, peer-led outreach initiatives to ensure the communities they served had access to COVID testing. This program also ensured that HCV testing and harm reduction initiatives were impacted as little as possible. 

You can watch the film here:

After the premiere of the film – which was shot by visual storyteller Conor Ashleigh (who also filmed our award-winning Connecting with Care films) – we held a Q&A with an expert panel.

As well as members of the KRC team, we were joined by Koketso Mokubane from the South African Network of People Who Use Drugs (SANPUD) and Maryam Alavi, a Senior Research Fellow from Iran. Together, they shared global perspectives on how their respective countries and organisations have adapted during COVID-19.

In Iran, the team at the Digestive Diseases Research Institute, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, launched an innovative roaming outreach program that uses storytelling, film and puppets (yes, you read that right!) to educate people who use drugs around testing and harm reduction.

Meanwhile, in South Africa, Koketso discussed how the stigma and discrimination faced by people who use drugs hasn’t changed during COVID-19.

Koketso lamented that still quite often it is medical staff who discriminate against people who use drugs while violence from the community such as taxi drivers remains a big problem. People are also still routinely stopped by police for carrying clean injecting equipment. 

To watch the panel debate, skip to 11.24, on this video:

We’d like to extend our thanks for all of our speakers for sharing their knowledge around this important subject. To ensure you don’t miss future events, sign up to our newsletter here.

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