UNODC Regional Office for South Asia's regional project titled, "Prevention of Transmission of HIV among drug users in SAARC Countries (Project RAS/H13) organized a 5-Day training course titled "Training on Basics of Drugs/HIV; Outreach and Community Involvement" from the 15-19 March 2008, in collaboration with the National Narcotics Control Board (NNCB), Government of Maldives.
Ms. V. Thirumagal and Dr. Tarun Roy, Consultant-Experts were the trainers for this programme.
As a first step towards maximising the field level impact in Maldives, Project H13 developed the curriculum for this course based on the need evolved during meetings held with stakeholders, in Maldives, in August 2007.
Trainees and trainer during a demonstration session on safe condom use
The training was successful in setting up the momentum for initiating interventions by the partener agencies under the mentorship of the Government of Maldives through its National Narcotics Control Board (NNCB).
In Maldives, Project H13 is supporting 3 agencies which include Society or Women against Drugs (SWAD), SHE and Journey to strengthen outreach, coping skills of families and communities affected by drug use and HIV and enhance safer practices among drug users. A total of 30 participants from these agencies participated in this 5-day training course.
During the training, keeping in view the drug use scenario in Maldives and the capacity of the partner agencies, emphasis was laid upon the basics of drugs, harms associated with drug use, risk reduction approaches, skills for effective outreach and community mobilisation, drug treatment and rehabilitation and relapse prevention strategies.
Mr. Kunal Kishore, UNODC DDR Officer welcoming the dignitaries during the valediction ceremony. Sitting,(from left to right) Dr. J. M. Luna (WHO), Mr. Ameen Ibrahim (NNCB), Dr. Aziz (Dy Health Minister), Mr. Ken Maskall (UNICEF), Dr. Franck Geneus (Global Fund) and Dr. Tarun Roy (Expert)
The duties and responsibilities of staff dealing with drug users were clarified, including tips on how to help the peers to access services, identification of new clients and forming linkages with other service providers and referral networks.
The participants were encouraged to come up with solutions based on their experiences working with drug users and share best practices along with others in the group.
This initiative is also an example of a coordinated UN response with UNAIDS, WHO and UNODC working jointly on this project. This was also evident during the valedictory ceremony of the training course which saw the presence of senior government and UN representatives from Maldives. Members from the Global Fund team were also present.
The chief guest on the occasion was Dr. Aziz, Deputy Health Minister. Others included Dr. J. M. Luna, WHO Representative, Mr. Ken Maskall, UNICEF Representative, Mr. Ameen Ibrahim, Deputy Executive Director, NNCB, Dr. Franck Geneus, Global Fund Health Advisor, Dr. Tarun Roy, Trainer-Expert and Mr. Kunal Kishore, UNODC Drug Demand Reduction Officer.
Moments from the training course:
Trainees during a group work
A trainee and the trainer during a demonstration session on safer practices for drug users
Dr. J. M. Luna, Representative, WHO addressing the trainees during the valediction ceremony
A trainee being awarded the Certificate of Participation by the chief guest Dr. Aziz during the valediction
Trainees and dignitaries pose for a group photo during the valediction