Official opening WHO Collaborating Centre for Harm Reduction

WHO/Smiljka de Lussigny

Martin Donoghoe, WHO/Europe, and Professor Dr. Algirdas Utkus, Vilnius University, at the official opening of WHO Collaborating Centre for Harm Reduction in Lithuania

On 11 June 2013, representatives of WHO/Europe visited the Vilnius University Public Health Institute (PHI) for the official opening of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Harm Reduction. Martin Donoghoe, Programme Manager, HIV/AIDS, STIs and Viral Hepatitis, met with Professor Dr Algirdas Utkus, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, and affirmed the importance of harm reduction and WHO’s commitment to applying evidence-informed harm reduction interventions when responding to HIV in the European Region. He also expressed WHO's gratitude and congratulated PHI on its status as the first WHO Collaborating Centre on Harm Reduction globally.

The official opening of the Collaborating Centre took place alongside the International Harm Reduction Conference 2013. The Collaborating Centre was established with the support of the Eurasian Harm Reduction Network (EHRN) and the Vilnius Centre for Addictive Disorders.

Harm reduction is a set of policies, programmes, services and actions that aim to reduce the harm to individuals, communities and society related to drugs, including HIV infection. Lithuania has been one of the Region's leaders in implementing WHO recommendations on HIV prevention among people who inject drugs.