UNODC and the Brazilian Ministry of Health hold workshop on Harm Reduction Schools

23 November 2011 - Consolidate guidelines and general operation for the Schools of Harm Reduction, establish indicators for monitoring and evaluating projects and promote regional articulation. These were the goals of the I Workshop for the Brazilian Universal Health System Harm Reduction Schools, result of a partnership between the STD/AIDS and Viral Hepatitis Department, the Coordination of the National Policy of Humanization - PNH/SAS, the Secretariat on Work and Health Education Management and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime - UNODC, with the support of the Pan American Health Organization - PAHO/WHO.

Held on November 16 to 17, in Brasilia, Brazil, the Workshop was by Bo Mathiasen - UNODC's Regional Representative for Brazil and the Southern Cone, Mr. Roberto Tikanori - Coordinator of the Mental Health Programmatic Area of the Brazilian Ministry of Health and representatives of PAHO/WHO, STD/AIDS and Viral Hepatitis Department, Schools of Harm Reduction, as well as Programmatic and Strategic Area of the Ministry of Health.

For two days, round tables, discussions and working groups allowed participants to have an overview of Harm Reduction Schools, as well as discuss progresses and future challenges.

At the opening ceremony, the UNODC representative for Brazil and Southern Cone, Bo Mathiasen, stressed the importance of such partnerships: "The completion of this workshop represents the first concrete activity of another partnership of the UNODC with the Ministry of Health. We have important historical actions in support of harm reduction, through the activities implemented with the STD/AIDS and Viral Hepatitis Department since 1994. Working with the Technical Department of Mental Health, especially in the proposed qualification of actions of harm reduction, adds on an experience of great value for UNODC in Brazil. "

Bo Mathiasen also stressed the importance of ongoing investment in professional skills in the practice of harm reduction, which has already proven its efficiency and effectiveness. Since 1994, Brazil has a National Harm Reduction Plan, however, this is the first time effort are made in order to share experiences between the various actors in all regions of the country.

Currently, there are 58 projects of harm reduction, distributed in 20 states of the five geographic regions of Brazil.

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