Exploring the Indonesian Harm Reduction Programs

On 17-30 July 2016, Alliance for Public Health (APH) jointly with Rumah Cemara organized an introduction, monitoring and study visit to Indonesian harm reduction programs. The main goal of the visit was to explore the level of harm reduction services in Indonesia, drug scene and drug policy country context and project environment to propose improvements in access to services, advocacy points of pressure and the required steps to develop collaboration with all stakeholders, donors and projects in Indonesia.

Anton  Basenko (APH) was accompanied by Raditya, Ardhany and Subhan (Rumah Cemara)  and visited all 4 cities of the CAHR 2 project: Jakarta, Bandung, Surabaya and Denpasar. There were meetings with UNAIDS and UNODC country offices, MOH, National AIDS Commission, national network of drug user organizations PKNI, introduction to local NGOs (Carisma, Rumah Cemara, Orbit, Yakeba) and local (city) government partners (City Administrations and City AIDS Commissions). One of the main focuses was service delivery sites (public health clinics, OST sites and prisons), hotspots and meetings with drug user community to provide deep involvement into the grassroots level and the reality of marginalized groups on the streets.

There are still a lot of things to be done and advocate for in scaling up harm reduction and access to treatment for PUD. To respond to fentanyl on the streets naloxone is needed; to respond to huge crystal meth users population it is necessary to provide specific approaches and services; to increase access to testing there should be community-based rapid testing, advocacy for Hep C testing and treatment, reduction of charges and adherence counseling to prevent high rate of ARV drop-outs, collecting of adequate data, etc. But the main fundamental things to be changed are repressive drug policy, death penalties, stigma and discrimination, for the community members to be acknowledged as humans with equal rights and freedoms. While those changes are still expected, Indonesian drug users don’t lose their hope and warmth in their hearts.