Strengthening responsiveness in the health network for early detection and management of psychoactive substance use related problems, with an emphasis on COVID-19 contingency

28 Oct 2020
28 Oct 2020

Washington, D.C., 28 October 2020 (PAHO/WHO) -To strengthen the skills of human resources in health networks for the address of psychoactive substance use disorders, especially in primary care and non-specialized services, PAHO has launched an online training initiative in conjunction with national authorities.

The training is directed to health service personnel at all levels of care, including direct care providers and program managers, and is offered in Spanish and English, combining self-learning tools, tutor support and expert consultation sessions.

The program contains guidance  topics in policy and planning, early identification and brief interventions, general guidelines for the management of substance use disorders in  specialized and non-specialized facilities, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, and treatment quality assurance,  in accordance  with  international standards. 

In Costa Rica, pilot experience has been initiated, under the coordination of an Inter-Agency group consisting of PAHO's representation in the country and at the regional level, the Costa Rican Institute on Drugs (ICD), the Mental Health Program of the Ministry of Health, the Institute on Alcoholism and Drug dependence (IAFA) and the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS). The first course, on "Management of Substance Use Disorders in the Context of COVID 19" was held in September and the training process of the facilitators selected by each of the participating agencies is currently underway.

In Aruba, Curacao and Sint Maarten, the initiative is part of the cooperation project supported by the Government of the Netherlands, linked to the reorganization of mental health care, with the logistical support of PAHO's Trinidad and Tobago office. The first course was held in Aruba in September, with the participation of technicians and professionals from the Ministry of Health, as well as non-governmental organizations. Training in Curacao will take place in late October and November in Sint Maarten.

During 2021 it is planned to extend the training to other countries of the Region, for which contacts have already been initiated with Argentina, Panama, Paraguay and the Dominican Republic.