Workshop in Tiraspol provides first application of new WHO alcohol brief intervention training manual


A 2-day train-the-trainer workshop for therapists and narcologists on screening and brief interventions (SBIs) for alcohol took place in Tiraspol on 11–12 October 2017. The training was based on the Russian version of the new “WHO alcohol brief intervention training manual for primary care”.

WHO/Europe conducted the workshop in collaboration with local experts from the Republic of Moldova and international experts from Portugal and the Russian Federation, who shared their experience in alcohol control measures.

From regional to local data and action

In a knowledge, attitude and practice (KAP) study on tobacco and alcohol consumption on the left bank of the Nistru River, conducted with WHO support in 2015, about 20% of respondents that had consumed alcoholic beverages in the last 3 months had exceeded a personal limit. This trend was twice as prevalent among men than women.

Among those who had exceeded their own norm for alcohol consumption in the last 12 months, every fourth respondent acknowledged consuming more than 1 litre of alcoholic beverages for a feast; every fifth respondent acknowledged consuming from 0.7 to 1 litre.

SBIs for alcohol are an evidence-informed approach to addressing the needs of the many patients presenting in primary care who may benefit from reducing their alcohol consumption. The WHO European Region has the highest level of alcohol consumption among all WHO regions, and alcohol-related mortality has increased over the last 2 decades.

In this context, the European action plan to reduce the harmful use of alcohol 2012–2020 highlights the vital role of the primary care system in reducing alcohol-related harm through the delivery of SBIs for alcohol.

The new WHO manual provides information to plan training and support for primary care practitioners to confidently deliver SBIs for alcohol to their patients. The manual outlines the background and evidence base for SBIs. It gives practical advice on establishing an implementation programme, as well as detailed educational materials to develop the knowledge and skills of participants in organized training sessions.

The specialists in Tiraspol were trained in:

  • key concepts, evidence and implementation of alcohol brief interventions (ABIs);
  • alcohol impact, consumption measures and harms;
  • ABI goals and core skills in practice;
  • the initiation of conversations about alcohol; and
  • the use of the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) to conduct screening and give feedback.

Based on working-group discussions, participants developed next steps tailored to local needs and circumstances. The primary care specialists will use ABIs to identify people who may benefit from an intervention at the earliest opportunity. Ultimately, early identification of the harmful use of alcohol and brief intervention at the primary care level will ensure that alcohol consumption is addressed as an NCD risk factor in accordance with a patient-centred approach.

WHO support for this activity is included in the biennial collaborative agreement between the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Moldova and WHO/Europe. The initiative is funded by the European Union programme “Support to Confidence Building Measures” and coordinated by WHO, under technical assistance and capacity-building activities in the health sector.