The World Bank South Asia regional AIDS team cohosted a regional workshop on Opioid Substitution Therapy with the Government of the Maldives and in collaboration with UNODC. The workshop brought together 50 policymakers, program implementers, researchers and representatives of networks of drug users from South Asian countries where opioid substitution treatment (OST) has been undertaken and/or is planned as part of an overall comprehensive harm reduction program. Participating country teams from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Maldives and Pakistan shared their lessons learned and best practices in implementing OST pilots and programs and learned from each other. A field visit was made to the Male Methadone Maintenance Therapy clinic.
The objectives of the workshop were to: identify critical factors that contribute to effective and sustainable OST programs; understand the importance of the design, impact evaluation and commitment to increase and improve M&E of OST programs; and, strengthen commitment to scale up best practices to increase the coverage of OST as an integral component of comprehensive harm reduction.