'Comprehensive Package' of services for drug users and their sex partners is being implemented in 7 SAARC Countries by Project H13 in partnership with the mentor and partner agencies. Phase II of Project is being jointly implemented by WHO and UNAIDS.
Recently, the project team, Ms. Harsheth Virk, Project Coordinator and Mr. Kunal Kishore, Project Officer, were in Thimpu, Bhutan, to present the findings of the Rapid Situation and Response Assessment (RSRA), conducted in Pheuntsholing in 2008, to the senior members of the Bhutan Narcotics Control Board. The Bhutan Narcotics Control Agency (BNCA) management and board members deliberated on the follow up plans of the RSRA as well as on the launch of the locally adapted project tools (project toolkits and IEC materials).
Mr. Debashish Mukherji - a technical expert on Drugs and HIV- has been sent to Bhutan to assist the BNCA and other project partners in implementing project activities and strengthening ongoing interventions on drugs and HIV prevention. BNCA and the project stakeholders and partners have appreciated the initiative. The consultant will reinforce the systems/institutions in Bhutan with technical inputs to ensure the future sustainability of the initiatives of the project. The technical expertise will strengthen the capacity for a scaled-up response to the problem of HIV and drugs in Bhutan and will also support the 3 newly established drop-in centres (DIC) of the BNCA and the project. The DICs are working in partnership with the district level Health Information Service Centers (HISC) of the Ministry of Health, Government of Bhutan. The support from the HISC has been complementing the efforts of the project, especially in the context of reducing sexual vulnerabilities (like STI/HIV/AIDS) of drug users and their regular sex partners.
During meetings with the Bhutan Narcotics Control Board, members of the board detailed on the plans to conduct RSRA's across 8 new sites in Bhutan and mentioned that the cost for conducting RSRA at 6 sites would come from BNCA.