Kabul, 3rd of December 2019, CHATAR, KOR Compound
CHATAR and ISSUP Afghanistan National Chapter launched a workshop on the 'Introduction of Global ISSUP and Afghanistan National Chapter' on 3rd of December in Kabul. The participants were mainly drug treatment centre coordinators run by the Ministry of Public Health of Afghanistan. The agenda was mainly focused on providing a clear understanding of ISSUP and the roles and responsibilities of National Chapters and the process through which Afghanistan became an established Chapter of ISSUP. The potential for the Afghanistan Chapter and the activities during 2019 were discussed and information shared with the participants concerning aims and objects as well as the necessary steps to be taken into account for the next year’s action plan.
Given the desperate circumstances and limitation in drug treatment and prevention in Afghanistan, establishing a solid community of professionals with clear objectives and work plan can have significant outcomes in terms of building treatment capacity and sustainability of the projects. Training opportunities for the staff and provision of an ongoing series of capacity building initiatives could help keep the experienced staff within the field and reduce turnovers. As an initial step for this purpose, emphasis was put on expanding ISSUP membership and bringing together the experts and professionals in drug demand reduction for the common cause of promoting evidence based practice and identifying the shortcomings in treatment, prevention and recovery support sections.
During his presentation, Dr. Irshad Mansoor, Director of CHATAR, explained the available opportunities within CHATAR Network and the ways to better mobilize these resources and take appropriate advantage of them for improving the capacity of treatment and prevention teams. The available training centre, library and certified education provider were identified as CHATAR’s potential and if properly utilized for training staff and developing their expertise within the field, the outcomes would be promising.
The process of membership with Global ISSUP and Afghanistan National Chapter was one of the main topics discussed and presented. The criteria for membership and each of the categories clarified and the participants were required to share the information presented within their centres and treatment team. Furthermore, the coordinators were given the responsibility to work as focal points of the ISSUP National Chapter within their treatment centres and closely work with the supervisees to learn more about ISSUP.
Discussions and question and answers were the last point taken into consideration. Dr. Rahim Akbari, training and capacity building coordination at the directorate drug demand reduction of the Ministry of Public Health assured the team of their consistent support in ISSUP related activities. Since given the challenges and constraints in the field and in order to improve the ongoing initiatives in the DDR field in Afghanistan, there is a constant need for strengthened coordination and team work between the government and civil society.
As a conclusion, ISSUP Afghanistan and CHATAR reiterated their commitment to bringing together substance use prevention, treatment and recovery support professionals through such initiatives and to raise the voice of the DDR community through all available means and to mobilize the resources for consistently combating drug dependence in the country. Furthermore, advocacy and developing practical sustainability plans for drug treatment and provision are some of the main steps ISSUP Afghanistan will pursue during its activities in 2020.