Nairobi, Kenya, 14 December 2018: The African Union Commission in partnership with the Government of the Republic of Kenya, through The National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA), The International Society of Substance Use Prevention and Treatment Professionals (ISSUP) and the United States’ Government through the Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) held a conference themed “thinking globally, acting locally”, the first ever major African event focusing on the prevention, treatment and care for substance use disorders
Amb. Abdoulaye Diop, Special Advisor, Bureau of the Chairperson African Union Commission, on behalf of the African Union, Deputy Chairperson, H.E Amb. Kwesi Quartey in his opening statement, emphasized the commitment of the African Union Commission in providing policy guidelines and requisite coordination. “I urge the stakeholders to take into consideration the huge unmet treatment demand as well as improving capacity and quality of existing treatment services for substance use disorders, forge ways of increasing data collection and monitoring and evaluation”, Amb. Diop said.
He thanked the US government for continued support and Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) to the African Union Drug Control Programme since 2015. Indeed significant milestones have been achieved under the project “strengthening research and data collection capacity for drug use prevention and treatment in Africa”, he added.
Amb. Abdoulaye Diop further stressed the importance for well trained professionals, applying science and evidence so our people faced with challenges of drug use are well treated owing to the fact that Africa is no longer a transit region for narcotic drugs but major consumption market posing serious health, security and social challenges.
The Cabinet Secretary for Internal Security and Coordination of National Government, Mr. Fred Matiang’i, the keynote speaker, in his address call on the delegates from across the continent to take action and ensure implementation of the recommendation instead of writing papers and doing presentations.
"This is not just a Kenyan problem, but global. One thing that we must embrace is less talk. We need to act more,” Matiang'i said.
Other speakers at the opening ceremony included Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) Assistant Secretary, Ms. Kirsten D. Madison, ISSUP Representatives, the Chief of Drug prevention and health Branch, UNODC, Dr. Gilberto Gerra, and top NACADA officials.
The 5 day conference include several training tracks and events that were held concurrently, one such event is the African Union Continental Experts’ Consultation on Drug Demand Reduction and Drug Epidemiology.
This year’s consultation, we incorporated an Africa-Latin America Policy dialogue that enable the stakeholders to share best practices and experiences in developing and implementing robust evidence-informed policies for drug use prevention, treatment and care.
The experts discussed the promotion of inter-continental dialogue on the establishment and operationalization of national drug epidemiology networks. They also reviewed a new draft framework to guide drug policy development on the continent, the “African Union Plan of Action of Drug Control and Crime Prevention (2019-2023)”, to be considered and adopted by African Ministers of Health, Population and Drug Control in their Specialized Technical Committee (STC) meeting scheduled to take place March/April 2019 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
For further information, kindly contact:
Ms. Janet Faith Ochieng| Communications Officer, Directorate of Information and Communication, African Union Commission | Tel: +251(0) 911361185 | E-mail: OchiengJ@africa-union.org
Ms. Eugenia Sirengo| Directorate of Information and Communication, African Union Commission | Tel: +251(0) 911361185 | E-mail: Sirengoeu@africa-union.org