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Network of Methadone Substitution Therapy Points is Developing

Network of Methadone Substitution Therapy Points is DevelopingThe 16th methadone substitution therapy point opened in Minsk on 8 February within the framework of the grants of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria which are implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in cooperation with the Ministry of Health.

Minsk already has a therapy point offering substitution treatment to more than 120 patients. However, demand for the substitution therapy is much higher. Given that over 7000 injecting drug users are registered with narcological dispensaries, it has been decided to open one more point in the Minsk Narcological Dispensary. The opening ceremony was attended by representatives of the Ministry of Health, Health Department of the Minsk Municipal Executive Committee and the UN Development Programme.

– This is my first official event under the Global Fund grant programme in which I am taking part in Belarus and I am pleased that my work in this area has begun with the opening of the substitution therapy point, – said Mr. Sanaka Samarasinha, UNDP Resident Representative in Belarus. – I have been working in different programmes in a number of countries including substitution therapy programmes and I would like to emphasize that Belarus is widely recognized as the country which is most successful and efficient in implementing the Global Fund grants. I am sure that success has been achieved due to sound partnership between the Ministry of Health and UNDP. In the next few days I will meet with the representatives of the Global Fund and I am going to tell them about the progress of this project in Belarus.

Mr. Sanaka Samarasinha also met with a recipient of a substitution therapy programme and discussed the needs of the visitors of the point in social, medical and psychological support and patients’ hopes associated with this programme.

Methadone substitution therapy (MST) which has a long and good track record in over 70 countries has been adopted in Belarus in the shortest period possible. Since 2007 the number of substitution therapy points rose from 1 to 16 including the second point which opened today in Minsk with all regions being covered. As of 1 January 2013, 910 patients were reached with substitution therapy; many of them have found jobs, restored family relations and parental rights. Over 70% of patients have stayed in the programme for more than a year, 57% of patients (and even 67% in the Homiel Oblast) have found employment.

In 2013 the efforts will focus on ensuring sustainable functioning of MST network in Belarus which will not depend on further donor funding and will be supported by the government.

For further information, please contact the Management Team of the Global Fund grants in Belarus. Telephone: (+375 017) 306-51-88.

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