ISSUP’s 4th Annual Workshop in Nairobi provided the opportunity for a focus on the National Chapter aspect of its operation. Six fully established National Chapters joined the meetings – Brazil, Chile, India, Pakistan and South Africa and Kenya. Fourteen other countries were involved ranging from those who are very near to becoming formally operational as National Chapters – Afghanistan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nigeria, Philippines, and UAE – to those whose presence reflected their wish or interest to join the ISSUP National Chapter family. This included Botswana, Greece, Italy, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Mexico, South Sudan, Uganda, and the Ukraine.
The time together allowed countries to share information about their country and organisation and how they were operating or intending to operate as a National Chapter. It provided a unique opportunity to discuss some of the challenges and benefits that could ensue from becoming an ISSUP National Chapter.
A key message was to focus on quality and the need to develop slowly but surely to provide a meaningful contribution towards achieving the shared ISSUP principles of evidence-based, high quality, ethical drug demand reduction policy and practice undertaken by a trained professional workforce.
It is early days for this important aspect of ISSUP’s operation, and a steep learning curve is ahead for all involved in making an exciting idea become a practical and positive reality. However, if the mood of the Nairobi meeting is anything to go by the interest, energy and willingness to learn and share, there will be significant “added value” to the achievement of the ISSUP mission and vision provided by the National Chapters.