An important step forward in the fight against HIV/AIDS and Hepatis C: Ukraine started rolling out Opioid Agonist Treatment (OAT) in its penitentiary institutions in 2019. The Pompidou Group has supported these reforms by training Ukrainian prison staff on comprehensive drug treatment provision in prisons. Moreover, it funded renovation of a methadone dispensary within a pre-trial detention centre in the city Lviv in the Western region of Ukraine.
Following a request by the Public Health Center of the State Criminal and Executive Office of Ukraine, the Pompidou Group organised from 2 to 4 February 2021 a training for 17 psychiatrists, security officers and educators working at Lviv Penitentiary Institution No. 19. It took place in a hybrid format which allowed participants to work together at one place while respecting sanitary and distancing measures to minimise the risk of COVID-19 infections. International experts were connected via video conference and contributed with presentations and by giving practical advice.
The training covered relevant topics such as concepts of substance use disorders; treatment and harm reduction interventions; international prison health standards; medications used in OAT; informal governance; through-care and the role of civil society. After three days of group work, master classes and intensive discussions, the participants developed a practical roadmap for implementing OAT in their pre-trial detention facility and improved their knowledge on treating drug addiction.