Bangladesh: UNODC conducts Opioid Overdose Response Training for doctors and technical staff amid COVID-19


Dhaka, Bangladesh/17 May 2020: Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, UNODC organized a virtual training today for doctors and technical staff in Bangladesh on Prevention of and Response to Drug Overdose. The training was aimed at supporting harm reduction service providers under the National HIV/AIDS Response Programme in Bangladesh.

17 medical doctors and health professionals from Save the Children International (Bangladesh), the International Centre for Diarrhoea Disease Research in Bangladesh (ICDDR, b), and CARE International in Bangladesh participated in the workshop, co-organized by Save the Children International.

The overarching objective of the training was to strengthen the capacity of the service providers to successfully identify and respond to drug overdose both at the community and the clinic level, ultimately reducing the fatality rate from drug overdose among people who use drugs.

The training was voluntarily facilitated by Dr. Ravindra Rao, Additional Professor of Psychiatry at the National Drug Dependence and Treatment Centre of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) New Delhi.

Dr. Suruchi Pant, Deputy Representative of UNODC Regional Office for South Asia, delivered the welcome remarks and inaugurated the workshop. The workshop trained the health professionals on the signs and symptoms of drug overdose, which is the leading cause of avoidable death among people who use drugs, and on how to prevent and efficiently respond to it.

Ms. Marina Yakunina, Officer-in-charge, UNODC Programme Office in Bangladesh delivered the closing remarks in the event, which was moderated by Mr. Md. Abu Taher, UNODC National Programme Coordinator (HIV/AIDS).

This is the first workshop in Bangladesh to provide opioid overdose training for medical professionals of the harm reduction services, and participants were able to take away practical and workable solutions to address this issue, which presents an even bigger risk in the current conditions amidst coronavirus-mitigating measures.

Under its ongoing HIV/AIDS-harm reduction programme, UNODC intends to deliver more first-hand and technical training on drug use prevention and treatment and in the near future.