The meeting organised at the initiative of the EMCDDA aimed at providing an opportunity for mutual exchange about the status-quo and future priorities in the work towards elimination of viral hepatitis among people who inject drugs (PWID) between the agency and its European and international partners.
The specific objectives of the meeting were: a) to take stock of the work developed by different partners with regard to the key population PWID; b) to identify synergies and gaps or needs; and – in a context of tight resources – c) to identify ways to increase scale and impact through joint working.
The main institutional partners of the EMCDDA, as well as projects and networks from the field of infectious diseases/harm reduction attended the meeting, namely: the European Commission (DG SANTE - DG for Health and Food Safety), World Health Organization (Regional Office for Europe), European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, as well as representatives of the International Network on Hepatitis in Substance Users (INHSU), of the EU Joint Action INTEGRATE, of Correlation-European Harm Reduction Network and the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL).
Exchanges at the meeting included a detailed roundtable on current activities and projects targeting the elimination of hepatitis C among PWID in Europe, highlighting each organisations’ unique role as well as priorities and medium-term plans in this field. Furthermore, experts from EMCDDA Focal Points in Poland and Luxembourg presented their experiences with the use of new tools developed under the agency’s Harm Reduction Initiative on hepatitis C to support a national multi-stakeholder discussion on barriers to HCV testing and access to care for PWID. At the end of the meeting, partners explored synergies and possible partnerships in future activities.