ESWA Members and Allies: the national response to HIV in North Macedonia is under threat, and we need your support.
Our member organisation STAR is the first sex worker collective in the Balkans.
Along with HOPS, the only regional service provider for sex workers, they face being forced to close their Sexual and Reproductive Health and HIV Prevention Programs.
Funding for the National HIV Program has long been below the required minimum. However, after 4 years of state support for the programmes, the Ministry of Health has decided to cut this already limited funding by another 40%.
With this level of funding, it will be simply impossible for these essential services to continue to operate.
ESWA endorses our member organisation STAR and the Platform for Sustainability of HIV Prevention and Support Services as they call on the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia, the Parliament of the Republic of North Macedonia and the President of the Republic of North Macedonia to meet the following three key demands:
1) Urgent correction of announcement by the Ministry of Health so that the budget intended for disbursement to civil society organisations (CSOs) is aligned with the initially approved budget of the National HIV Program, adopted by the Government in February 2022, i.e. 46.5 million MKD, instead of the currently announced 27.5 million MKD.
2) Urgent adoption of the amendments to the Law on Health Care, which are currently in parliamentary procedure, and which institutionalise the operation of HIV services delivered by CSOs.
3) Reimbursement of the costs of CSOs for the continued delivery of HIV services to key affected populations during the first quarter of 2022 while the Ministry of Health had been delaying the announcement of the annual call for CSOs.
How can you help?
STAR has provided its supporters with this letter template.
Please use this template to complete a letter of support and send them as solidarity support to the Government, Parliament and President of North Macedonia. Their contact email addresses are included in the template.
If you would like to share your support on social media, you can tag @sexworkeurope for us to share on our page.