people who use drugs including 8,000 to 30,000 injecting drug users
of injecting drug users are infected with HIV in Nairobi
of injecting drug users are infected with HCV in Nairobi
Kenya is one of the countries with the most injecting drug users. Users are stigmatised by the population and by health professionals, they are marginalised, and often have no access to the care that they need. Without the necessary treatment, with no sterile equipment available and often unaware of the risks associated with their practices because of a lack of available information, this population is one of the most vulnerable to possible infection with HIV and and hepatitis C.
Drug users are stigmatised by the population and by health professionals.
The publication of strategic documents of the issue is an encouraging sign. However, the implementation of these specific directives by the Kenyan government appears limited, in the absence of resources and trained personnel but also because of repressive policies
Since 2012, Doctors of the World has recruited medical staff, a psychosocial counsellor, outreach workers and teachers who reach out to the drug users of Nairobi, take them in and advise them.
In the association’s reception centre, the users are given sterile injecting equipment, they can receive vaccinations, be tested for possible infections, receive psychosocial support, take part in health education sessions and be referred to public health facilities. A mobile unit also goes out to the most vulnerable and isolated users to provide them with sterile injecting kits and make them aware of the risks of infection.
Alongside these actions on the ground, Doctors of the World works with institutions for the development of national policies on long term harm reduction. The association also supports the government in setting up targeted communication on this subject. Training and awareness building workshops are organised, focussing on substitution treatments.
Since 2016, Doctors of the World and Doctors without Borders Belgium have been developing a pilot project on treatment for hepatitis C which feeds into the association’s advocacy for better access to treatment.
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