Cambodia and the United Nations collaborate on community-based drug dependence treatment
Phnom Penh (Cambodia), 19 July 2010 - There are not many cases in East Asia of a community-based drug dependence treatment approach being combined with a global drug dependence treatment initiative. In Cambodia, this has been done under the leadership of Deputy Prime Minister Ke Kim Yan, who is also the Chairman of the National Authority for Combating Drugs of Cambodia, through
Treatnet, the international network of drug dependence treatment and rehabilitation resource centres.
Treatnet, which is now in its second phase, is a UNODC initiative that promotes diversified and accessible quality drug dependence treatment and care services, including HIV/AIDS prevention and care. Treatnet began in 2005 with 20 treatment centres worldwide and in its current phase is being implemented in 27 countries in five regions.
Treatnet II activities are carried out in two pilot provinces: Phnom Penh and Banteay Meanchey. At the same time, national guidelines for the treatment of drug dependence are also being developed. The project's key strategy focuses on a continuum of care from outreach, early identification and intervention, to rehabilitation and societal reintegration.
The chronic and multifaceted nature of drug use and drug dependence calls for the involvement of the community and social and health-care service providers.
To plan for Treatnet II activities in Cambodia and to ensure that they contribute to the approach launched by the Deputy Prime Minister, UNODC organized with the United Nations Joint Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the World Health Organization (WHO) a meeting that would involve a wide range of partners.
Represented at the meeting were relevant national and provincial authorities, local and international non-governmental organizations, the HIV/AIDS Asia Regional Programme, UNAIDS, WHO and UNODC.
Aaron Watson, Technical Adviser for the Social Environment Agricultural Development Organisation, said that "the meeting provided a very useful opportunity to discuss current initiatives being implemented by various stakeholders in Banteay Meanchey Province, including non-governmental organizations, the provincial health department and local health services".
During the course of the day, the participants were divided into three working groups according to area of interest and expertise. Two groups worked on developing a tentative implementation and referral plan for each of the two pilot sites. The third group debated how the national guidelines could best be developed and monitored.
One participant said that "it is important to emphasize community-based outreach in the pilot sites, both before and after treatment".
Throughout the meeting, special attention was given to the training component of the programme, which ultimately guarantees the project's sustainability in developing local expertise. This will be done by training nine trainers abroad and involving them in the training of local staff upon their return to Cambodia.
Commenting on the meeting, Mr. Watson and Kong Samnang, Executive Director of the Social Environment Agricultural Development Organisation, explained "that the meeting allowed us to begin to plan the shape, form and coordination mechanisms needed for a stronger community-based drug dependence approach".
The outcome of the meeting was the formulation of a tentative workplan for the demonstration of community-based drug dependence treatment in Phnom Penh and Banteay Meanchey. The final work plan will form part of Cambodia's grant proposal for the implementation of Treatnet II.