Exposure visit of Kenya team to harm reduction programme in Tanzania

On ladies' territory in Drop-in-Center

On October 4-5, 2012, CAHR Kenya partners together with the representative of Kenya Ministry of Health visited harm reduction programme for people who inject drugs in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania run by Médecins du Monde (France).

The programme is one of the first in the region to address the growing HIV epidemic among people who inject drugs.

The project preparatory stage began in 2010, with the first clients receiving syringes and other commodities since January 2011.

From the very beginning Médecins du Monde paid a lot of attention to building productive relationships with authorities via signing of Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Health and local authorities, as well as with local communities by carrying out the practice of once-every-three months open doors meetings for all the community leaders explaining the project activities and sharing plans.

The current service points are Drop-in-center and outreach in the Dar-es-Salaam district of Temeke which has the most complicated HIV and drug using situation. Current scope of services includes: distribution of 3 ml syringes, injecting water, alcoholic swabs, condoms, information materials; rapid testing for HIV, HCV, HBV, syphilis, HBV vaccination; basic medical examination and abscess treatment; shower and washing machine service; tea/coffee and snacks. Overall some 3 000 beneficiaries have used the services in the Drop-in-center and via outreach. More than 50 drug users enter the doors of Drop-in-center every day.

The programme is using innovative approaches to spreading prevention messages in the community with many people who cannot read and is now working on a drama performance on HIV prevention which will be shown to project beneficiaries in several sites and then recorded for a broader audience.

The programme has already become a model to be replicated in Tanzanian AIDS Programme and will already in 2012 be expanded to another Drop-in-center and NGO.