Iva Jovovic participated in a discussion on the cooperation of state institutions with civil society organizations in the field of sustainable health systems with emphasis on treatment and prevention of HIV.
The meeting was held in Tallinn at the beginning of December, organized by OECD, the Global Fund, WHO and an Estonian Ministry of Social Affairs.
“The cooperation of state institutions, mainly health ones and CSOs is crucial to access populations that are hard to reach, such as people who use drugs, sex workers, etc.”, said Iva Jovovic.
Particular emphasis is placed on the work of NGOs in the field of health literacy of the patients: the protection and promotion of patients’ rights and responsibilities of patients according to their medical treatment or other related issues. For example, consistently receiving treatment for TB or warning patients and general public on excessive use of antibiotics.
Furthermore, CSOs in particular associations of patients who are being treated for a specific illness act as the biggest advocates of improving the quality of treatment, but also in the field of prevention.
There is also the question of providing psychosocial support to patients and their families.
This form of assistance is the least represented in the classical health care system and the important role of associations is in organizing peer support groups, exchange of experiences among patients related to treatment and help in obtaining rights arisinig from social welfare and medical insurance not to mention protection of privacy as an emergining issue as well as working with medical staff in increasing their respect and tolerance towards the patients.
In the end, no less important is the role of NGOs in the fight against stigma and discrimination as it is crucial in the area of HIV/ AIDS. Not to mention mental illnesses as well as an area of great stigma both expressed by general public and medical professionals.