Regional workshop on drug surveillance and information systems with West African Francophone countries

In many parts of the world, information on illicit drug use is extremely limited. National governments, as well as regional and global bodies, have all committed to improving the quality and comparability of information collected on illicit drug use. This includes the Lisbon Consensus, discussed on January 20-21, 2000, which envisages the principles, structures, and indicators that would form the basis of an effective strategic information system.

To provide technical assistance to better streamline the collection, analysis, and reporting of drug use data and to understand the extent and patterns of drug use in francophone West African countries, UNODC has organized a regional workshop on Drug Surveillance and Information Systems: Improving Drug Surveillance and Information Systems to Strengthen the Implementation of the Lisbon Consensus in Francophone West African Countries.

According to Dr. Amado Philip de Andrés, “Efforts must be made to estimate drug consumption, drug-related morbidity, and drug-related mortality in West and Central African countries. This aligns with the UNODC’s strategic vision for Africa 2030 to promote people’s health through balanced drug control.”

The workshop brought together 34 people (7 women and 27 men) in Senegal to (1) explore opportunities for collaboration and improvement of national and sub-regional drug monitoring and information systems based on the Lisbon Consensus indicators; (2) share information on ongoing national, regional and international efforts to improve drug monitoring and information systems; (3) Develop coordination strategies to improve the availability, quality, and sharing of data and information on the drug situation in the countries and the region; (4) Promote a regional community of specialists to improve drug monitoring and information systems.

The exchanges were organized in three sessions (Coordination and Governance of Drug Surveillance and Information Systems; Collection Tools for Drug Surveillance and Information Systems; Methodologies for Drug Surveillance and Information Systems) and allowed (1) to identify stakeholders of drug surveillance and information systems, (2) to exchange on similarities and differences by sharing experiences of best practices, (3) and to promote multi-sectoral collaborations. Following the regional workshop, UNODC will continue to work with countries to strengthen the implementation of the Lisbon Consensus.

This workshop was implemented in the framework of the UNODC programme “ Partnerships for the Treatment of Drug Use Disorders”  (GLOK32) thanks to the generous support of the government of France.