Astana, Kazakhstan - To increase awareness about the benefits of methadone maintenance therapy for individual patients and for the public at large, Ministry of Health and Social Development and UNODC announced the winners of the first Methadone Maintenance Therapy Reporting Journalist Awards on 10 March.
Present at the event were, Director of Department for Organisation of Medical Care from Kazakhstan Ministry of Health and Social Development, Mr. Bauyrzhan Bayserkin and Ms. Signe Rotberga, HIV Regional Adviser for Central Asia, UNODC.
In its inaugural edition five journalists were recognised for their exemplary reporting of the Methadone Maintenance Therapy.
The Grand Prize - a study tour to a European country with well-established methadone therapy - was awarded to Mrs. Meyramgul Nygmetova from Astana for the radio programme "About Methadone Assisted Treatment" on "Shalkar", "Kazakh" radio channels.
Other winners were Mrs. Dinara Kinderbayeva for best publication in the regional printed media; Mrs. Vera Lyahovskaya for best publication in national printed media, Mrs. Aziza Yeshmetova and Mrs.Meyramgul Nygmetova for best publication on radio and TV channels (national and regional) and Mrs. Aynagul Bakimbayeva for best publication in online media.
Submissions for the awards, which began in April 2015, targeted national, regional and online media. Judges received 46 entries, in four categories, regional printed media, national printed media, publication in online media and broadcast on radio and television channels. A five-member jury representing the School of Public Health and UNODC judged the entries.
"Methadone Maintenance Therapy is an evidence-based therapy for opioid dependence. It reduces opioid use by eliminating withdrawal symptoms and drug craving, decreasing the risk of HIV or other blood-borne transmission and criminal behaviour," said UNODC's Ms. Rotberga
The journalist who submitted entries showed the incredible potential there is in using media to advocate methadone maintenance therapy for people who use drugs.
Photo: UNODC Kazakhstan