COVID-19 and Harm Reduction Programme Implementation: Sharing Experiences in Practice (Webinar)

Médecins du Monde Harm Reduction, April 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is having a profound effect on the provision of health services across the globe and is further magnifying the existing barriers faced by people who use drugs in accessing harm reduction services. Programmes have had to adapt, and efforts are being made to enhance accessibility and ensure the continuity of harm reduction services in a context that is changing daily.

But what does this look like in reality, and what practical measures can be put in place to ensure that people who use drugs continue to have access to the services and support that they need?

The aim of this webinar is to facilitate an interactive discussion and share experiences on how to maintain and adapt harm reduction services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speakers will discuss:

• The impact of COVID-19 on the lives of people who use drugs and their use of services

• Community mobilisation and advocacy by people who use drugs

• Examples of how harm reduction programmes such as OST and NSP are continued in some countries

Organisers: Médecins du Monde, International Network of People Who Use Drugs, Harm Reduction International, European Network of People Who Use Drugs, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the World Health Organization.

Sexual and reproductive health a COVID-19 priority (Statement)

Burnet Institute, 28 May, 2020

Burnet Institute is a member of a consortium of Australian-based non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and academic institutes concerned about the detrimental effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls globally.

The International Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Consortium, which includes Save the Children, Family Planning NSW, CARE Australia, The Nossal Institute for Global Health, and Médecins Sans Frontières Australia, is calling on the Australian Government to prioritise the needs of women and girls in its response to COVID-19.

Collectively, the consortium works across 160 countries to champion universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights.

It’s concerned that women and girls across the globe are struggling to access critical sexual and reproductive health care, citing evidence that COVID-19 lockdowns are likely to cause millions of unplanned pregnancies.

In the Pacific, travel to rural and remote areas have been curtailed, and physical distancing requirements have forced the cancellation of most group training on sexual and reproductive rights.

A recent UNFPA report determined that a six-month lockdown could mean 47 million women and girls globally cannot access contraception, and seven million will become pregnant.

The consortium has issued a joint statement setting out priorities to ensure Australia’s global response to COVID-19 meets the critical needs of all women and girls, including:

  • Recognise and respond to the gendered impacts of the pandemic, and the increased risk to women and girls from gender-based violence and other harmful practices
  • Improve the supply of contraceptives and menstrual health products which are being impacted by the strain and disruption on global supply chains
  • Increase flexibility in delivering sexual and reproductive health services during lockdown using innovative health delivery models such as task-sharing, tele-health and pharmacy distribution
  • Support sexual and reproductive health workers and clinics to continue delivering services sagely with access to personal protective equipment as well as training on how to refer, test or diagnose COVID-19.

 

SEXUAL HEALTH MATTERS: new clinical podcast from SHINE SA

SHINE SA, May 2020

Filled with quality clinical guidance and tips for best practice, SHINE SA’s new Sexual Health Matters – Clinical Podcast delves into the intimate regions of the body and broaches the uncomfortable conversations necessary to ensure client safety and sexual/reproductive well-being.

Through discussion, interview and explanation, experienced sexual health clinicians raise awareness of guidelines, resources, research and emerging trends to ensure that clinicians everywhere can provide excellent sexual and reproductive care to improve client outcomes.

If you have a topic you would like us to cover in future podcasts, email courses@shinesa.org.au to let us know!

Call for study participants: Image Based Sexual Abuse (IBSA) and its impact on LGBTQ individuals

University of Birmingham, May 2020

Image Based Sexual Abuse (IBSA) and the impact this has on the well-being of LGBTQ individuals

Image Based Sexual Abuse

This PhD study aims to explore LGBTQ individuals’ experiences of Image Based Sexual Abuse (also known as revenge pornography) on their mental health and well-being. The study is also interested in how much health and well-being organisations understand about IBSA and how easy it is for individuals to access services.

Victims of IBSA express symptoms of depression, anxiety and in some instances suicidal tendencies. This harmful impact can be felt in both the private and professional spheres for the victims. Internet users who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning or queer (LGBTQ) are far more likely than those who identify as heterosexual to have experienced threats of or actual non-consensual image-sharing. However, the majority of the current body of research focuses on heterosexual women and there is little research that is aimed at the long-term implications this can have on LGBTQ individuals in regards to their mental health and well-being. All members of the team work in the School of Nursing/ School of Social Policy at the University of Birmingham. Dr Caroline Bradbury-Jones is the Principal PhD Supervisor for this study and is the Programme Lead for the Risk Abuse and Violence Research Programme within the School of Nursing. Dr Nicki Ward is a lecturer in social work and is a PhD Supervisor of this study. Mr Ronnie Meechan-Rogers is a senior lecturer within the school of nursing and is exploring this topic as part of his PhD studies.

If you are LGBTQ and have experienced IBSA we think that you could offer a great deal in helping us with the study.

Key researchers:

  • Dr Caroline Bradbury-Jones

  • Dr Nicki Ward

  • Mr Ronnie Meechan-Rogers

Read more or contact researchers here

 

COVID-19 Impact and Response for Sex Workers

Scarlet Alliance, 2020

STATEMENT OF IMPACT

Sex workers throughout Australia have been devastatingly hit by the impact of coronavirus. As a workforce, sex workers are predominantly a mixture of precarious workers and the self-employed, being independent contractors who work in or for sex industry businesses, or sole traders who work independently for themselves. As such sex workers are particularly marginalised in terms of the impact of the coronavirus and many will still be excluded from the stimulus packages announced by the government.

While we welcome the announcement that from 27 April 2020 sole traders are included in the government’s Economic Response to the coronavirus, many sex workers will still be left without financial support.

Read more here

There are fears coronavirus is stopping Australia’s migrant women from accessing abortions

SBS News, 26th April 2020

Vulnerable pregnant women could lose access to abortion throughout Australia because of increased financial hardship caused by the coronavirus pandemic, reproductive health providers have warned. 

A combination of widespread job losses, differing abortion laws around the country, and patchy access to Medicare, could mean more women need financial assistance to terminate unwanted pregnancies or will face carrying their pregnancies to term.

Some providers even fear a return to people attempting unsafe abortions if women cannot afford legal terminations.