National Seminar on Estimation Size of the PWID Populations in Belarus

On 23-24 March 2015, the project office of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Belarus together with the Ministry of Health organized 2-days seminar in Minsk for employees of the regional departments of HIV/AIDS prevention, law enforcement agencies, drug treatment specialists, academic institutions as well as representatives of international organizations and NGOs. The theme of the seminar was dedicated to approaches and international best practices in the evaluation of the size of the population of people who inject drugs (PWID).

National Seminar on Estimation Size of the PWID Populations in BelarusOn 23-24 March 2015, the project office of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Belarus together with the Ministry of Health organized 2-days seminar in Minsk for employees of the regional departments of HIV/AIDS prevention, law enforcement agencies, drug treatment specialists, academic institutions as well as representatives of international organizations and NGOs. The theme of the seminar was dedicated to approaches and international best practices in the evaluation of the size of the population of people who inject drugs (PWID).

The workshop was organized as part of a joint UNODC-World Bank project aimed at improving the quality of population size estimates of people who inject drugs in selected high priority countries

The workshop brought together 38 participants from all six regions of Belarus and its capital, which had an opportunity to get acquainted with the methodology of assessing the number of people who inject drugs and other most-at-risk groups for HIV infection, used in various countries around the world, as well as to analyze the data to assess the number of these populations, which took place earlier in our country.

Very intense and specific seminar program with a focus on important issues such as the historical aspects and the modern features of drug trafficking in the countries of the world, regional characteristics of HIV/AIDS and its relation to injecting drug use; modern approaches to the assessment of the size, the experience of international cooperation in combating the spread of HIV/AIDS and drugs, guidelines for the preparation of articles in international peer-reviewed journals, etc. supported the attention of participants throughout the workshop.

The trainer, expert of the international research organization "Population Council" Mr. Sccott Geibel, has used numerous practical examples and exercises that help participants better understand the statistical methods and approaches to assessing PWID population size and select the ones that have not yet been used in the Republic of Belarus. For its part, the participants shared their experiences in conducting research to assess the size and outlined plans for the use of new techniques in conducting such studies in the future.

The workshop participants commended on its progress and results, noting in particular that the quality of estimates of the size of populations of PWID should be significantly strengthened, with an emphasis on the collection of information on gender and territorial peculiarities, as well as the most common types of drugs and trends of their use.

Present at the seminar, Mr. Riku Lehtovuori, headquarters UNODC staff in Vienna, noted its high methodological and organizational level, and proposed to form the results of its work as a project proposal for the financing of new research that will help to better understand the size and nature of the problem of drug abuse in the Republic of Belarus to adopt more effective measures for the organization of preventive and treatment efforts.

Thus, the workshop helped to strengthen the capacity of national staff to assess the population size with the quality modern methods, as well as strengthen partnerships between different agencies in assessing the size of the population of people who inject drugs.

Vladimir Gordeiko, UNODC National Advisor on HIV/AIDS

More photos here.

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