HIV prevention services for key populations in Albania on the brink of collapse – open letter from Albanian NGOs

Albanian NGOs issued an open letter expressing their concerns regarding a difficult context of provision of HIV services to key populations groups in Albania.

The implementation of the Global Fund grant came to an end on 31.12.2019 and the new transition grant is not still signed yet. By 1st of January, all NGOs providing services to key population during 2018-2019, run out of any kind of support. There is a total lack of information from all institutions, including CCM, how the project will continue, what will be the role of each actor and how the sustainability of services will be ensured, if it will be.

Access to the lifesaving services of 1800 people who inject drugs and 380 methadone clients, 1200 MSM, 290 sex workers, 30 prisoners and up to 200 people living with HIV is being jeopardized. NGO are required to shut down services, cut human resources and return all assets to the principal recipient (Ministry of Health and Social Protection): computers, printers, minivans, tables and also remaining rapid tests.

Even when the transition grant will be signed and its implementation starts – this will not help much to fix the situation as only the 5 NGO’s out of 12 will be supported to continue providing services to KP as sub-recipients during 2020–2022, including 2 CSO’s providing services for PWID, a further 2 providing services for MSM, and 1 for SW, without any indication of which CSO’s will be selected.

Albanian NGOs appeal to the Global Fund Secretariat, CCM and Minister of Health and Social Protection of Republic of Albania requesting them not to neglect this situation but to act fast and appropriately to ensure the sustainability of HIV prevention services for key populations. The support of other donors and technical partners is also very welcomed.

More details on the challenges of Global Fund transition in Albania are available in the recent EHRA case study available here.

The full version of an open letter from Albanian NGOs.