On November 20th -24th, within the project “Improved Quality and Sustainability of Medication Assisted Treatment in Ukraine” it was conducted professional development visit of Ukrainian delegates to Berlin, Germany. The aim of the visit was to learn about best practices in the area of Medication Assisted Treatment (hereinafter — MAT) at primary healthcare level, as well as prevention programs as a response to HIV in key populations.

The representatives of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, regional Departments of Health from PEPFAR priority regions, SI “Center for Public Health of the MOH of Ukraine”, National Police of Ukraine (Department on Combating Drug-Related Crimes), Shupyk National Medical Academy on Postgraduate Education were participants of the 5-day visit.

Ukrainian delegates had an opportunity to visit German establishments in Berlin related to development of policy and establishment of organizational aspects to service provision in the areas of prevention and treatment of drug addiction and other social diseases: The National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians, The German Medical Association, NGOs, family doctors, who provide MAT program, supervised drug consumption room, Charite University Hospital, where patients are treated with diamorphine (Heroine Substitution Treatment).

During the visit, the participants learned about harm reduction interventions for injection drug users, prevention and treatment of HIV and HCV, issues on service organization, staff training programs, QMIS of MAT at primary health care level. Also, the system of psychosocial support for MAT patients was analyzed.

As of the end of 2016, the number of MAT patients in Germany was 78 5000 people where the approximate number of people with opioid dependency varies from 150 000 to 200 000 people. Patients can receive treatment with all available medications, including diamorphine in conjunction with psychosocial and rehabilitation programs. In such case, financing of treatment is carried out by various entities: federal states, retirement and health insurance institutions, municipalities, communities, charitable foundations.

The visit enabled to discuss the issues on development and functioning of MAT in Ukraine that need to be improved, the possibility of applying best practices ensuring the sustainability and quality of services in the context of primary health care reform, decentralization and regional peculiarities.

We also express our gratitude to our German partners from Deutsche AIDS-Hilfe for helping us in meeting organization, assisting delegates during the visit and helping to learn in-depth peculiarities of the healthcare system in Germany.

The Project “Improved Quality and Sustainability of Medication Assisted Treatment in Ukraine” is a five-year project funded by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) under the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). The purpose of this Project is to provide targeted technical assistance to medication assisted therapy programs in Ukraine and stimulate its development in order to improve sustainability and quality of programs and long-term health and social outcomes of MAT clients.