Jun 30, 2008 News Comments Off on Gender-based training to pave way for expanded substance abuse treatment – Minister Ramsammy
With the intent of ensuring that substance abuse treatment is offered to both males and females, the Ministry of Health will be initiating a gender-based training programme for those who will be tasked with providing care to persons who abuse substances.
The programme, according to Health Minister Dr Leslie Ramsammy, will be undertaken in collaboration with the Catholic Relief Service, the US State Department and the Phoenix Foundation.
The venture is slated to commence today, and will culminate on July 5th.
Emphasising the importance of the programme, Minister Ramsammy pointed out that, over the years, treatment and rehabilitation of substance abuse was limited to men, a trend the ministry is gearing to reverse.
The Phoenix Recovery Project and the Salvation Army substance abuse programmes are non-governmental organisations that have both been confined to rendering services to men, since, according to the minister, these entities are not equipped with the requisite residential facilities to accommodate both genders.
He noted, though, that the Phoenix Recovery Project has streamlined plans to address this dilemma.
The minister said that the Georgetown Prisons has also been rendering the service to men, adding that the opposite is being done at the New Amsterdam Prisons, where the programme has not been continuous.
He disclosed that every effort will be engaged to ensure that substance abuse treatment is made available without discrimination and hindrance.
He assured that the problem will be aptly solved in terms of residential facilities before the end of the year, even as he advised that construction of such facilities have already commenced at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC).
Another facility is also being prepared at the New Amsterdam Hospital, and similar services will be extended to other facilities for both men and women, the minister said.
On another note, the minister expressed satisfaction that his ministry was able to launch the Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre at the GPHC.
Commenting on the past week of free counselling and testing which was offered at the centre, the minister said that he was heartened that families, together with persons living lives of abuse and addiction, responded favourably to the call.
“We are extremely encouraged by the response to this call for persons to come in and get treatment and enter rehabilitation programmes.”
He disclosed, however, that the venture was an introductory one, since a permanent version will commence at the GPHC on July 15th.
But, according to the minister, the encouraging response also constitutes a problem for those manning the programme.
He explained that, because a significant amount of persons accepted the introductory week of treatment and rehabilitation, it could be detrimental for them to now wait until July 15th to continue receiving the much needed attention.
However, the minister said that he has been assured by Coordinator of the programme, Ms Sheranne Isaacs, that provision for additional counsellors to continue the programme has been secured, and thus the clients will not be without care.
“It is difficult for people to come forward; and when they do, we should not then allow them to fall back. So, as much as it is a challenge, we have to make it happen.”
In this regard, the minister said, he can assure families and those accessing the service that “we will not discontinue and leave them without an alternative. We will continue to work with Phoenix and the Salvation Army, too.”
Also to be commended in aiding the ongoing counselling process is the Guyana Association of Professional Social Workers, an entity that has joined the ministry’s efforts.
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