20 / 06 / 2024
Managing patients with drug addiction in primary care: summarizing the results of seven years of work

On June 19, 2024, we held the final ECHO session of the seven-year research project "Integrating Addiction Treatment and HIV Services into Primary Care Clinics in Ukraine", which aimed to study the effectiveness of the integrated model of health care services in primary care clinics and interventions to improve the quality of health care services through the training of physicians.

Since 2017, thanks to the project, we have provided technical assistance for the opening of 26 opioid agonist therapy (OAT) sites in primary care facilities in 13 regions of Ukraine, as well as ongoing training and professional support for family doctors and nurses involved in the project. 

Over 7 years, 117 ECHO (Extension for Community Health Outcomes) online meetings were held, involving almost 200 health professionals. During these meetings, invited experts - narrow specialists in the field of narcology, psychiatry, phthisiology and infectious diseases - discussed with participants various aspects of providing integrated care for patients with opioid addiction. In addition to topics directly related to drug addiction and OAT, we carefully considered the issues of diagnosis, prevention and treatment of HIV infection, tuberculosis, viral hepatitis, COVID-19, mental disorders, and other related pathologies. 

The ECHO sessions were a combination of lectures and multipoint videoconferencing to discuss specific medical cases, which also allowed participants to share best practices. 

Some research from the project has already been published in international journals. In particular, the results of an analysis of clinical data and patient self-reports for the year 2021 (PLOS Global Public Health, 2022) show that clients with drug addiction received more primary and specialty care services when they received OAT in primary healthcare clinics supported by tele-education, compared to treatment as usual in specialized clinics. 

We are grateful to our partners and experts for participating in the project! Thank you to the medical staff who are pioneering the introduction of OAT treatment and integrated care in primary healthcare clinics! We hope for further effective cooperation in the development of a sustainable and effective public health system in Ukraine.


In 2017, the implementation of the project "Integrating Addiction Treatment and HIV Services into Primary Care Clinics in Ukraine" was started by the Ukrainian Institute of Public Health Policy, continued and completed by the European Institute of Public Health Policy, with the support of the Yale University School of Medicine, USA (principal researcher of the project - Prof. Frederick Altice), the Public Health Center of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine and the Ukrainian Association of Family Medicine. The project was funded by the National Institute on Drug Addiction of the US National Institutes of Health.