Harm reduction in Kazakhstan performs surprisingly well compared to other countries of the region. The DUNews filming crew visited Almaty, Kazakhstan’s ‘Southern Capital’ and Largest City – watch their video with English subtitles to learn more!
Almaty has something to show the visitor – a dazzlingly beautiful surrounding nature, ultramodern architecture, wide avenues, huge green parks, museums, and a real Oriental bazaar, of course. Near the city sits the highest mountain skating rink in the world – Medeo. Right above the city, on the Kok Tobe mountain, there is an observation deck, from where the whole of Almaty is seen, as in the palm of your hand. There is even a Beatles monument there! All this surprises and amazes, considering that in its history, Almaty has been destroyed many times by strong earthquakes.
(Turn on English subtitles by clicking on the CC button at the right bottom of the video.)
However, we are not ordinary tourists, and did not come here to admire the local sights. In terms of harm reduction Almaty is a very interesting city. For example, it is the first and so far the only city of the CITIes project with such a high level of state support for harm reduction services. Just for reference: there are 18 trust points in the city where clients can be tested for HIV, HCV, and other diseases, get expert advice, and exchange syringes. At the same time, these points are located on the basis of state polyclinics and the state also finances them. There are many examples of state involvement in financing harm reduction and prevention programs. All the staff of local prevention programs, NGOs, and government agencies we met talked about the future of public funding for harm reduction programs, as a fait accompli, and not as something desirable, but distant. This confidence is very rare in our countries. And as if to confirm the serious intentions of the city authorities, Almaty became the first city of EECA to sign the Paris Declaration on AIDS.
Here live very talented, active, and creative people, including representatives of vulnerable groups. We were convinced of this on the Day of Communities, organised by the city authorities.
In general, please, watch our videos themselves, watch along with colleagues, share them with your friends. Believe me, you will have something to discuss!