ECOWAS host capacity building workshop for treatment experts on quality assur-ance framework and treatment guidelines for substance use disorders11 Mar, 2022
ECOWAS host capacity building workshop for treatment experts on quality assurance framework and treatment guidelines for substance use disorders
The ECOWAS Commission organized an online capacity building workshop for Member States Treatment Experts on Quality Assurance Framework and Treatment Guidelines for Substance Use Disorders from the 9th to 10th 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. In addition, the workshop aimed at exposing the treatment experts to available resources for facilitating the establishment of an effective, coordinated system to deliver patient-centred harm reduction interventions of substance use disorders in multiple settings.
The opening remarks of the workshop was delivered by Ms. Azumah Judith Kokui, Deputy Manager, Pantang Hospital Rehabilitation Centre, Accra, Ghana. She stated that Target 3.5, one of the key priority areas of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), aims to improve the coverage and quality of treatment of substance use disorders. This key priority area emanated from the recognition of the growing concern with shortages, retention, and lack of training for treatment experts’ workforce she opined. Thus, she noted that change in thinking towards strengthening evidence-based workforce development for the treatment of substance use disorders globally is a step in the right direction. The Chairperson added that the shift towards a systems approach, which is broad, comprehensive and targets individual, organizational and structural factors to enhance the quality of treatment of substance use disorders should be encouraged. She commended the ECOWAS Commission for hosting the capacity building workshop. She urged experts at the workshop to use the opportunity provided by the training to commit to adapt and to implement the WHO International Standards for the treatment of substance use disorders to achieve optimal care standards for people with substance use disorders in the ECOWAS region.
The welcome remarks of the Commissioner, Social Affairs and Gender, ECOWAS Commission, – Dr. Siga Fatima Jagne, was delivered by Mr. Daniel Amankwaah, Principal Program Officer (Drug). The Commissioner noted that a considerable proportion of persons affected by substance use disorders do not have access to a wide variety of evidence-based interventions for prevention and treatment and this 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 inadequately provided and underused. The survey of substance use treatment and rehabilitation facilities in West Africa, conducted in 2019 by the ECOWAS Drug Unit identified several challenges impeding the health-system performance in West Africa, which include inadequate human resources, infrastructure, information and service provision, and low people’s participation, knowledge, perception of services, and poor help-seeking behaviour as well as stewardship and governance related issues. In the Commissioners’ concluding remarks, she stated that the capacity building workshop aims to further enhance multistakeholder collaboration, encourage systematic assessment of needs and enhance the use of minimum quality standards for treatment of substance use disorders.
About fifty-eight delegates from Ministries of Health, Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospitals, and Heads of Mental Health services in ECOWAS Member States and Mauritania, representatives from the West African Network of CSOs on Substance Abuse (WANCSA) and the West African Epidemiology Network on Drug Use (WENDU) participated actively in the workshop. The delegates made presentations on the current state of treatment services as it relates to substance use disorders in their respective countries. The topics covered at the workshop included the principles of timely access to evidence-based treatment interventions, promotion of patient health, safety and human rights, as well as practice exercises on scoring of timely access to evidence-based treatment interventions. In addition, the WHO International Standards for the Treatment of substance use disorders was presented and recommendations on its application proffered by the experts at the workshop.
At the end of the workshop, experts agreed to set up a regional network of treatment experts for substance use disorders. The acronym WANATe (West African Network of Addiction Treatment Experts) was proposed and unanimously endorsed by the experts.