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Cambodia hosts community-based drug dependence treatment workshop

Banteay Meanchey (Cambodia), 24 November 2010
- On 8 November, UNODC, in the framework of its International Network of Drug Dependence Treatment and Rehabilitation Resource Centres (Treatnet), organized in collaboration with the Provincial Health Department of Banteay Meanche, the first ever capacity-building workshop on community-based drug dependence treatment. Through Treatnet, UNODC promotes diversified and quality drug dependence treatment and care services, including HIV/AIDS prevention and care.
The 5-day training workshop was opened by Dr. Chhum Vannarith, Deputy Governor of Banteay Meanchey and over 200 representatives from the Provincial Health Department, referral hospitals, primary health centres and non-governmental organizations, who work with drug users, participated in the workshop.

The workshop was taught on two levels: basic and intermediate. The basic level addressed staff working at primary health care centres, while the intermediate level was tailored towards staff working in referral hospitals.

Dr. Keo Sopheaktra, Director of the Provincial Health Department said that: "I strongly encourage participants to focus on the interventions in both levels. Please make the best of this great opportunity to learn and become capable of providing proper drug treatment service in your respective communities."

During the opening speech, Dr. Chhum Vannarith said that: "On behalf of the Governor of Banteay Meanchey, I would like to thank the Ministry of Health, the National Authority for Combating Drugs and UNODC for initiating the community-based drug treatment pilot project. The complexities surrounding drug dependence treatment are not the sole responsibility of any particular government institution. What we need inter-departmental collaboration".

Another workshop participant, Dr. Chhit Sophal, Deputy Director of National Program for Mental Health went on to say that: "This is the first time that Cambodia launches a pilot project of community-based drug treatment in Banteay Meanchey. I hope that this project will enable us to replicate this model in other provinces, and that it will eventually become a national model".

With this pilot training successfully launched, a series of similar workshops will follow in the coming year to enhance quality service and increase access to drug dependence treatment in three other provinces and Phnom Penh.

General Neak Yuthea, Director of the Legislation, Education and Rehabilitation Department of the National Authority for Combating Drugs concluded by saying that "due to the limitations of fund and resources at our centre, it is useful to learn about the community-based drug treatment approach. It will help us respond effectively to drug matters in Cambodia."