Santa Cruz de la Sierra, 29-31 October. - According to recent United Nations estimates, only one in 11 people with substance use disorders have access to adequate treatment in Latin America and the Caribbean. The little connection that exists between specialized substance dependence treatment services and the rest of the health network, particularly with the primary level, stands out among the barriers to access.
PAHO/WHO Mental Health and Substance Use Unit, in collaboration with Spain's Government Delegation for the National Drugs Plan of the Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality, and the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), organized the subregional workshop on challenges for problematic drug use treatment in comprehensive health networks.
Participants included representatives from the ministries of health and the national drug commissions of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay, as well as from two Argentine provinces (Jujuy y Mendoza) and the City of Buenos Aires, from the province of Santa Cruz (Bolivia), and an expert from the Catholic University of Valencia (Spain), Dr. Juan Carlos Valderrama. Based on local experiences related to planning and management of health care services for problematic drug users, they identified challenges for treatment integration into health service networks.
They highlighted the need to strengthen health personnel skills at all levels of care for the identification and management of substance use related problems. Also, the importance of developing a service delivery organizational model that allows to extend coverage, in terms of territory and population, and promote and monitor its quality, for a more efficient response to the public health needs associated with substance use.
As a result of the activity, each country agreed to work on a proposal for articulating specialized and general health care, with emphasis on the first level, also addressing populations with specific needs (comorbidity, gender approach and life course). Areas and opportunities for horizontal cooperation were reviewed, as well as ongoing processes that may favor progress in the improvement of care.