Federal funding to fight blood-borne pathogens
Ally Centre of Cape Breton receives support for related projects
The federal government will provide $300,000 over two years to the Ally Centre of Cape Breton to reduce the risk of bloodborne infections among people who share drug-use equipment.
Sydney-Victoria MP Mark Eyking made the announcement Friday on behalf of the federal Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor.
The project that is being funded will help with the high rates of hepatitis C and HIV. The funding will support front-line interventions and capacity-building activities in communities, including education resources for people who use drugs, peer-based outreach services, and training for health providers.
The Ally Centre of Cape Breton projects will support initiatives for peer education and promoting harm reduction.
“We have hired two peers, which are responsible for education around the prevention of blood-borne pathogens and other harms associated with substance use disorder and for linking people with other services such as health care and addictions treatment,” Christine Porter, executive director of the Ally Centre of Cape Breton, said in a news release. “We have also hired 10 peers to pick up improperly discarded syringes in five CBRM communities and to link people to the Ally Centre’s services three days a month.”
The funding allows the centre to expand its hours of operation to 8 p.m. daily, seven days a week.
“We are certain that this will assist us in our efforts to improve the health and safety of our communities,” Porter said.
Sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections, including hepatitis C and HIV, are largely preventable. However, there are communities in Canada that have high rates of infection, which is a significant public health concern. Harm reduction is a key pillar in Canada’s drug strategy.
“Community organizations, like the Ally Centre, do important work to reduce hepatitis C and HIV infections among people who share drug-use equipment,” Eyking said.
The Public Health Agency of Canada is investing $8.5 million to support 28 projects across the country. This is part of the Public Health Agency of Canada’s investment of $30 million over five years through the Harm Reduction Fund.
In 2016, people who injected drugs accounted for 14.3 per cent of reported new HIV cases in Canada.
An open call for proposals for funding under the Harm Reduction Fund was launched in May 2018. Additional projects under phase two of the program will be announced in the coming months.