ECOWAS Hosts Capacity Building Workshop for Treatment Experts on Quality Assurance Framework and Treatment Guidelines for Substance Use Disorders
The ECOWAS Commission organized an online conference capacity building workshop for treatment experts from Member States on the Quality Assurance Framework and Treatment Guidelines for Substance Use Disorders of the 9and at 10and March 2022.
The main objective of the workshop was to foster understanding in the application of international standards for quality assurance framework and treatment guidelines for evidence-based treatment of substance use disorders. Additionally, the workshop aimed to expose treatment experts to the resources available to facilitate the establishment of an effective and coordinated system to deliver patient-centered harm reduction interventions for substance use disorders. in multiple contexts.
The opening address for the workshop was delivered by Ms. Azumah Judith Kokui, Deputy Director, Pantang Hospital Rehabilitation Centre, Accra, Ghana. She said Target 3.5, one of the main priority areas of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), aims to improve the coverage and quality of treatment for substance use disorders. This key priority area stems from recognition of the growing concern over shortages, retention and lack of training in the treatment expert workforce, she said. Thus, she noted that the shift in mindset towards strengthening evidence-based workforce development for the treatment of substance use disorders globally is a step in the right direction. The President added that the shift to a systems approach, which is broad, holistic and targets individual, organizational and structural factors to improve the quality of treatment for substance use disorders, should be encouraged. She commended the ECOWAS Commission for hosting the capacity building workshop. She urged the experts present at the workshop to use the opportunity provided by the training to commit to adapting and implementing the WHO international standards for the treatment of substance use disorders. to achieve optimal standards of care for people with substance use disorders in the ECOWAS region.
The welcome remarks of the Commissioner for Social Affairs and Gender of the ECOWAS Commission, – Dr. Siga Fatima Jagne, was delivered by Mr. Daniel Amankwaah, Principal Program Officer (Drugs). The Commissioner noted that a considerable proportion of people affected by substance use disorders do not have access to a wide variety of evidence-based interventions for prevention and treatment, which has resulted in a huge treatment gap in the region. The gap is not limited to substance use disorders, as generally cost-effective interventions in other health sectors are underprovided and underutilized. The survey of drug treatment and rehabilitation facilities in West Africa, conducted in 2019 by the ECOWAS Anti-Drug Unit, identified several challenges hampering the performance of the health system in West Africa, including insufficient human resources, infrastructure, provision of information and services, and low participation, knowledge, perception of services and poor help-seeking behavior as well as problems related to stewardship and governance. In the Commissioners’ closing remarks, she said the capacity-building workshop aims to further strengthen multi-stakeholder collaboration, encourage systematic needs assessment, and reinforce the use of minimum quality standards for the treatment of disorders. related to substance use.
About fifty-eight delegates from Ministries of Health, Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospitals and Heads of Mental Health Services from ECOWAS Member States and Mauritania, representatives from the West African Network of CSOs on Drug Addiction (WANCSA) and from the West African Drug Use Epidemiology Network (WENDU) actively participated in the workshop. Delegates made presentations on the current state of treatment services for substance use disorders in their respective countries. Topics covered at the workshop included principles of timely access to evidence-based treatment interventions, promotion of patient health, safety and human rights, and exercises practices on scoring timely access to evidence-based treatment interventions. In addition, the WHO international standards for the treatment of substance use disorders were presented and recommendations on its application were made by the experts during the workshop.
At the end of the workshop, the experts agreed to set up a regional network of experts in the treatment of substance use disorders. The acronym WANATe (West African Network of Addiction Treatment Experts) was proposed and unanimously adopted by the experts.