2. Connecting with Care – South Africa
Across South Africa the stigma faced by people who use drugs is severe. They are victims of violence and unlawful searches by law enforcement, and it is rare to find community leaders advocating for people who use drugs. And, despite advocacy from some civil society organisations and health professionals, there has been little shift in policies to enable access to harm reduction services such as needle and syringe services, opioid substitution therapy, and HCV treatment.
Through real-life stories of people positively impacted by the project, the film profiles how Harmless - in the face of many challenges - is improving the lives of people who take drugs, particularly those who are HCV positive. Some of its impacts include: Currently, DAAs are not registered in South Africa, but via Harmless a few hundred people are now undertaking DAA treatment. Needle and syringe programs are linked with psycho-social counselling and education on safer drug use and safer sexual practices. People with lived experience are engaged and employed via the project. Advocacy efforts are ongoing to ensure methadone and buprenorphine are listed on the essential medicine list for use at all levels of care and for cost reduction.
- Brooke Nolan - INHSU,
- Conor Ashleigh – independent Visual Storyteller