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Archive for June, 2014


STUDY

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After injecting himself with drugs and being in drug use for many years, Abubakar who is 41, divorced and living with his sister in Likoni is a happy man after testing HIV negative in 2012 March. Since then he has maintained his recovery and is now enjoying sobriety and trying to forget the loss of his parents, drug usage in the early years of his life. Such cases are common in the coastal region, where Heroin use has been a major problem for a number of years.
The story of Abubakar echoes with many in the drug addiction, he regrets have been introduced to drugs by a friend, who used to work with him in the local in a building and construction site. He was given marijuana and then late indulged into selling drugs.This lead to him being injected from his family due to stealing.He became a man of the street and used to shift from street to street in search of drugs. In 2012, an outreach program funded by Aphia Plus at RCT which reached to the community with Risk reduction messages, HIV testing and Counseling and addiction counseling services at the community level {maskanis}. Luckily, Abubakar was one of reached by RCT outreach workers who engaged and motivated him to join the drug addiction treatment. After undergoing three consecutive assessment and counseling, he was motivated and decided to join the program in March 23, 2012.
He stayed at the Reachout rehabilitation center for 4 months; Abubakar was motivated to join the reintegration program {Halfway house} for two months. Which he says ‘If it was not the reintegration program, I don’t think I could have been accepted by my family’. They family said Reintegration program tend to get ones will power to overcome challenges after every Sunday visits, says Abubakar. Generally acceptability in the society and family at large is a slow process and being taken back in the community slowly makes it easy for the entire family to see your progress of change advices Abubakar to the clients who are at the Four months Rehabilitation. He completed his six months program on the 23 sept, 2012, which he later requested to continue volunteering at the Halfway house.
Abubakar is one of the members enrolled to the SLP project after undergoing training conducted by UNIDO. Abubakar is now a joyous man.He has now reunited with his family members.
A brother who was hard and treating him as a thief a now lives in Italy has offered him an opportunity to live together. The brother has also given money for the processing of travelling document and medical cost. Currently enjoys One year and seven months being in recovery. Abubakar message to the drug addicts is ‘Pain is constant; Suffering is a choice and will only change and accept treatment when you admit and accept that you have a problem of addiction.

MOMBASA COUNTY DRUG USE INTERVENTION FORUM (MCDIF)

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Kenya’s Coast line region is the most affected by narcotic drug use in the country, while Mombasa County has the 5th highest burden of HIV among the 47 counties in Kenya, with a prevalence of about 20% compared to the national prevalence of 5.6 %( KAIS2012).
There are approximately over 77,100 persons who are living with HIV in Mombasa County, with over 4,930 cases of new HIV infections detected in 2011 and 554 in every 10,000 people infected with TB.
Mombasa County also has the highest number of Injecting Drug Users .Approximately 17% of HIV infections at the Kenya Coast are linked to intravenous drug use.
Despite the many efforts made to deal with the supply of narcotics in the country, they still find their way to the intended markets, and the people who end up in prison are the end users rather than the suppliers.
The numerous arrest have not done good service to the fight against drugs in the country, as most drug users tend to go back to the habit after they have served their term.Allienating drug users and imprisonment does not help to solve the root cause of the menace and that is why stakeholders in harm reduction at the coast met to discuss issues related to drug use and harm reduction.
The meeting that brought all stakeholders to share and advocate for community support towards harm reduction intervention at the coast, was convened by Reachout Centre Trust under thePublic Health and Human Rights project supported by the Open Society Initiative in East Africa (OSIEA) on the 26th & 27th September at Castel Royal Hotel.
The meeting touched on drug use to law enforcement perspective, as well as public health/ harm reduction perspective. They also discussed the challenges that drug users were undergoing, especially the injecting drug users. It was noted that punitive laws and discrimination have turned away drug users from health facilities.
There was consensus among the stakeholders at the meeting that it was vital to work together to support ongoing harm reduction interventions and get the community to support these as well. The forum was formed due to inadequate collaboration and coordination among the stakeholders resulting into duplication and wastage due to individualistic approaches. It will operate on the principle, “two hands are better than one.”
Stakeholders formed a committee to ensure that the recommendation were implemented, they lay out the role of the committee as to curb harm against drug users and sensitize locals on the dangers of drugs. The committee was to involve police during outreaches and hold meeting with police, drug users to establish how they can best tame the menace. When they assemble barazzas, they are to involve drug users and strengthen the re integration program by the Probation Department for IDUs and DUs. The group would have quarterly feedback meetings to note the gains made by the committee.
Among stakeholders at the meeting were The City Inspectorate, the Anti-Narcotics Department, Regular Police, the Prisons Department, the Probation Department, NASCOP, county representatives and Disaster Management Department, KANCO and MUHURI.

Guiding Objectives of the Forum

  1. Empowerment of people who use drugs and enhancing health service provision to them.
  2. Carry out individual/group counseling on drug users for attitude change.
  3. Rehabilitation and reintegration of drug users to the community.
  4. Create public awareness on the dangers of drugs
  5. Capacity building to relevant stakeholders
  6. Technical support and provision of expertise on public health issues based on human rights,
  7. Facilitation of quarterly forums
  8. To maintain law and order thus preserve peace within the community


County probation officer in the middle who is the chairperson of the forum handing over office space to Reachout and KANCO representative as part of strengthening Reintegration program of petty law offender’s, main focus being IDUs and DUs in the region.
Currently the MCDIF does not have any funding support hence we call upon our develop partners and key stakeholders to give more support to this noble cause.

Late Murad Saad Zeal to fight the Drug Menace in the Coast:

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Mr. Murad A. Saad was born and raised in Mombasa, Kenya. After studies he immersed himself in business, with the responsibilities of managing his companies.
He began the fight against drugs in 1998, when he started going round the coastal towns and villages educating the locals about the dangers of drug abuse, which by then was almost a taboo among the predominantly Muslim community in the coastal area.
Mr. Saad was very instrumental in the fight against drug abuse at the coastal region, contributing to the local community’s awareness on drugs. He resolved to eradicate the glaring pandemic among the locals. His zeal to deal with the social decay was second to none.
Apart from the community Mr. Saad was faced by many challenges ranging from social, religious and financial constraints that threatened to shut his dream of contributing to a drug free society. However, this did not dampen his spirit at all.
Mr. Saad efforts came to fruition when he was approached by a community based organization, Muslim Education and Welfare Association (MEWA) in the early 2001 to assist in formulating programs in the fight against drug abuse.
This request consigned with his personal achievements in the fight against drugs. The request saw him elevated to conveyer the message on drugs to the locals and later on in April 2001, he was endorsed as the key man behind the formation of a Rehabilitation Centre in Mombasa in the fight against the menace. This bolstered the fight against drugs among residents.
His efforts made more people aware of drug abuse, albeit many young people where still addicted to heroin, Mr.Saad did not relent on the fight against drugs. In the wake of the year 2003, Mr. Saad founded another rehabilitation centre called Reachout Rehabilitation centre through funding from UNODC and other donors.
The founding of Reachout drug treatment centre catered for young people who were indulge in intravenous drug use and HIV/AIDS infections that spread through sharing needles and syringes.
He further collaborated with UNODC that funded a study to determine the correlation between IDU’s, HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C. Saad was aback by the findings that showed high percentage of HIV & Hepatitis C positive amongst the IDU’s people. This outcome further led to Mr. Saad starting another project in the coastal community. The TUONANE project was started to educate and counsel drug users against sharing syringes and needles and how to minimize contraction of HIV.
Through this project, Mr. Saad has managed to bring thousands of Heroin drug users for Voluntary Counseling and Testing centres to know their HIV status and to live responsibly.
It was through the Tuonane Project, that Mr Saad was able to set up a comprehensive system for his clients within the coastal Provincial General Hospital.It is also his input in the fight against drugs that saw many staffs in KEN 108 trained on how to tackle the menace among patients addicted to drugs.
Mr Saad also served as a member of Coast Region Site Committee of KEN108 and he assisted in the refurbishment of out –patient drug treatment unit in the hospital. He vowed to kick start a program on treatment of patients by his personal presence and ensure that drug patients get free services at Hospitals.
Saad’s focus was to educate the masses about social problems such as drug abuse, HIV/AIDS and human trafficking; create intervention and drastically reduce the demand for drugs as well as vulnerability to HIV infection.
He initiated several events to create awareness among locals like radio programs, funding youth activities, football, basketball tournaments that put more weight on sports against drugs. One of the programs in Pulse Fm that dealt with the negatives of using drugs led to drug peddlers abandon sell of Heroin in Mombasa.
In the recent times, Murad A Saad has grown to be a natural reference in the coastal area of Kenya whenever the subjects of drug abuse and HIV/AIDS are discussed.


Among the many achievements that Mr. Saad has accomplished are:

  • Founding of MEWA rehab centre
  • Founding of and running Reachout drug treatment centre
  • Founding of Reachout centre trust
  • Founding of and coordinating the TUONANE project(Currently Reachout Drop in Centre)
  • He was nominated as the chairman of the sub committee on drug abuse of the Community Service Order by the office of the vice president of Kenya.
  • He was awarded a certificate of recognition as 1st runners up role model of the year in the crusade for a drug free and healthy society by the Kenya Union of Journalists (KUJ) and National Campaign Against Drug Abuse (NACADA) a government body.
  • Support and set-up of Coast Provincial General Hospital’s (CPGH) out-patient drug treatment centre.
  • Starting a prison outreach program which has included medical drugs and staff support from CPGH.
  • Co-ordinated Reachout Centre Trust’s Famine Relief Food program to the affected regions at the Coast of which CPGH provided medical drugs and staff.
  • The 2006 United Nation Vienna Civil Society Award-For his outstanding achievements and recognition to the global fight against drug abuse, crime and terrorism


Although gone, Mr. Saad has left a legacy that leaves many to emulate, his vim to take the fight against drugs bare knuckles is something to write about and celebrate. He automatically becomes a natural choice for nomination.