The Ministry of Health in Vietnam has officially started a Methadone program for the country, which will provide Methadone Maintenance Therapy (MMT) as part of comprehensive care for drug users within the health services of six specific district locations. As part of this comprehensive treatment approach, other health services, including treatment for HIV/AIDS, will be available at these sites.
Family Health International (FHI) is one of the partner organizations contributing to the roll-out of this new program, and as part of this effort they have requested that ICEHA send clinical mentors to several of the new methadone sites as they start MMT for the first time.
Dr. Sarz Maxwell was ICEHA’s first clinical mentor to be sent to this program, and she provided hands-on coaching to local health providers at clinics in Ho Chi Minh City and Hai Phong in summer 2008.
In Dr. Maxwell’s first week in Vietnam, she commented that “upon arrival in Hai Phong, I traveled to one of the two sites where MMT is being started. There, I was honored to assist the doctor and his staff in assessing and determining an initial starting dose for the first 8 patients at this MMT clinic. Applause broke out when the first patient swallowed his first dose!”
By the end of her assignment in Vietnam, Dr. Maxwell found that “being able to assist Vietnam in the initiation of MMT has been a true pleasure and a great honor. The physicians are, for the most part, enthusiastic and motivated to make the project work. The initiation of MMT in Vietnam is worthy of great celebration. With a great deal more hard work, I truly believe that Vietnam can build a methadone treatment system that will be a model for the entire world. I am deeply grateful to ICEHA and FHI for providing me with this wonderful experience.”
For more information, read our issue of Reports from the Field highlighting this project: http://www.iceha.org/newsletter/Reports/FieldReportSummer08.pdf
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