Tunis host meeting of African experts to fight drug use in Africa | Tunisia News Gazette

Tunis host meeting of African experts to fight drug use in Africa

A meeting of African experts is currently being held in Tunis, as part of a project entitled “Capacity Building in Research and Data Collection for the Prevention and Treatment of Drug Use in Africa”, implemented by the African Union Commission.

Funded by the US government, this project will create national and regional networks for epidemiological surveillance of drug addiction in five African Union member states in 2017.

The project will be carried out through training and capacity building initiatives in ten Member States and will facilitate consultation and exchange of information between technical coordinators of this project.

The meeting, which runs until November 3, aims to organise training for national coordinators of epidemiological surveillance networks, according to organisers.

The objective is also to review national reports on the epidemiological surveillance of drug addiction and to provide more guidance on the development and completion of reports.

It also seeks to initially win a consensus of the ten participating countries on the preparation of annual reports on epidemiological surveillance.

Hafidha Okbi, head of the National Office for Drug Control under the Ministry of Health said the meeting aims to strengthen the capacity of the National Coordinators of the Drug Addiction Project and Coordinators of networks of epidemiological surveillance of drug addiction.

The objective being that they be able to ensure the implementation of the project to submit reports to the African Union Commission.

Tunisia was chosen among the top ten countries that received training on the collection of data on drug use, said Okbi, adding that the lack of such data in Tunisia is due to the lack of in-depth statistics on this issue.

She said a group of experts from the African Union will conduct a field visit to several health facilities in the country next Monday to establish a state of affairs and put in place an action plan.

Director of Social Affairs of the African Union Commission, for his part, emphasised the need to establish a network for the exchange of information on drug use in African countries.

This will bring together statistics, he said, pointing out that the goal behind it is to put policies in place to combat the consumption of narcotics.

Source: TAP News Agency

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