UNODC Hosts Collaborative TREATNET Training and Visit Providing Insight into Kenyan Drug Treatment Programmes

Mombasa, 3 December 2018 - In November the 2017, in Cape town, The Regional Office for Eastern Africa of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC ROEA) organised a sub-Saharan regional training titled TREATNET Volume D "Management of Drug Dependence Services" for treatment facilities. For the region, it was one more occasion to exchange and learn from each other's best practices. As participants exchanged on the nature of treatment programmes in their respective countries, an idea was born.

Why keep the wealth of experience emanating from this region only in this region?  International trainers and UNODC's global and regional teams saw the potential of south-south exchanges embedded in TREATNET modules. The Government of Kenya, having made significant strides in responding comprehensively to the treatment needs of people with drug  use disorders and the prevention of HIV and hepatitis among people who use and inject drugs, was ready to share its programme and its learnings in implementing treatment programmes in low-resource settings that are tailored to the population. NASCOP and the County of Mombasa both had representatives in attendance, who were ready and willing to contribute technically beyond their borders, quickly valuing the opportunity and rising to the challenge.

Today, a year later, after much planning and consultation, UNODC ROEA, UNODC Global Programme on Drug Dependence and Care Programme, the Government of Kenya and the County of Mombasa received the first cohort of professionals to Kenya. This Sunday, fifty-seven Afghani health professionals and the UNODC Afghanistan Country Office Team arrived ready for a full week of training and site showcasing first-hand the county-government, civil society organizations and UNODC partnership in the implementation of opioid substitution therapy and psycho-social support programmes. On this occasion, UNODC called on three International trainers, but also that of expert trainers from within the region (Kenya and Mauritius). 

During the course of the five-day training, the cohort is divided into three groups who will tackle Volume A (Basics of Addiction, Screening, Assessment, Treatment Planning and Care Coordination), Volume B (Elements of Psychological Treatment) and Volume C (Pharmacological Treatment for Drug Use Disorders) of the TREATNET curricula - 3 of the six volumes available to Member States.  In addition to the these in-class sessions, the County of Mombasa invited participants to visit its low-threshold Kisauni OST (called Medically Assisted Treatment, MAT in Kenya). They will also be received by civil society organisations who are key to the success of the programme working hand-in-hand with the county health officials - from the provision of harm reduction services in drug using hot-spot, to the advocacy, information, education and communication on treatment availability, MAT and other, to the enrollment of clients in programme, follow-up, psycho-social support, legal aid, livelihood support and many other interventions requested by clients. While the story of Kenya, like all new initiatives in the field of drugs, is not without its challenges, it is nonetheless a model that is evidence-based and fit-for-purpose for Kenya's need - a model that draws on the strength of partners to deliver for people who use and inject drugs and a model that saves lives.

We will be keeping you abreast of this week's proceedings and visit. Follow us on TWITTER @UNODC_EA   #TREATNET #NoOneLeftBehind #UNODC2030