OAT program development and improving access to mental health services: discussing the prospects

Our specialists presented the results of research on the barriers to further developing the opioid agonist therapy program in Ukraine, as well as the prevalence of mental disorders among patients of the OAT program.
At an online meeting on June 24, researchers of the European Institute of Public Health Policy Kostyantyn Dumchev, Tetiana Kiriazova, and Myroslava Filippovich presented to stakeholders the data obtained during the research “Assessment of barriers to access to OAT and assessment of service delivery models in the context of their effectiveness” and “Study of the prevalence of mental disorders among patients of the OAT program.” On July 1, there was a discussion of practical steps to optimize the OAT program and increase the availability of mental health services for OAT patients.

In particular, it is recommended to strengthen the work of NGOs that work with PWID in harm reduction programs, conduct awareness-raising activities, and train employees of NGOs and medical institutions to counter their myths and build communication skills. It is proposed to improve the transparency of NHSU tariff formation and increase the cost of the OAT package, as well as investigate the impact of the mass transfer of RRT patients to independent admission on the effectiveness of treatment and retention in the program.

In the field of mental health, positive changes are expected under the conditions of the introduction of monitoring and ensuring the performance of mental health examinations according to Standards, and the development of routes for patients with concomitant mental disorders, which provide for further examination and treatment. It is also recommended to develop informational measures to increase patients’ awareness of mental health issues.

A research report with all results and conclusions will be made publicly available soon.

The research was conducted by the European Institute of Public Health Policy in August-December 2021 as part of an agreement with the Center for Public Health of Ukraine.
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