Posts Tagged ‘#SupportDontpunish #Drugpolicyreform #Harmreduction’

County Leadership Dialogue, Diani Kwale County

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People who use drugs are frequently have their rights violated because of the risky behaviors they indulge in; the criminalization of drugs makes them inherently vulnerable to police and community harassments hence facing stigmatization, dishonor and besmirchment from the community and service givers.

It is on that note that through the support of our Development partners Open Society Foundation of Eastern Africa, we  partnered with United Nation Office of Drugs and Crime, we organized a county leadership dialogue with the Kenya police, prison wardens, health care givers, National AIDS Control Council, Teens watch and other stakeholders from Kwale County to deliberate on this matter in order to stop; Discrimination, stigmatization and Human rights violation among this vulnerable group which its prevalence of HIV transmission is higher than the general public, instead we need to support Harm reduction interventions by Reachout centre trust and other like-minded organization, we as well need to promote social inclusion and efficiency service delivery among this key population to prevent new HIV infection among this group and linking to care the affected.

Participants had an interaction session with recovering drug users whom they shared their testimonials when using drugs, the challenges faced when seeking health services and the prejudice from the society which forces them to create self stigma and isolating their families and society at large.

Kwale county has an HIV prevalence of 5.7%, the Key population statistics is estimated to be 1,503; with 1,112 female sex workers, 257 men having sex with men and 134 Injecting drug users according to National HIV Estimates 2016. Out of estimated   21,000 persons currently living with HIV in Kwale, 2,659 are children and infants.

County inspectorate sensitization on People who use drugs.

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Through the support of our Development Partners Open Society Foundation of Eastern Africa, we sensitized Mombasa county inspectorate on People who use drugs at Pride Inn Hotel Shanzu.

The inspectorates were taken through the methadone dispensation clinic at frère town dispensed in partnership with the county government of Mombasa, UNODC, Reachout centre trust and MEWA where more than 500 recovering drug users get methadone since its inception.

They as well get to know the stages of dispensing methadone to recovering drug users till they are wind off from the program which may varies from the clients.

The county inspectorates were taken on how we can effectively work together to ensure PWUD attain quality healthcare and combat stigma and discrimination which causes most of them to miss quality healthcare and what we can do to create enabling legal environment for PWUD to leave with no fear of police harassments because possession of drugs is criminalized, this effectively criminalizes people who use drugs themselves.

People who use drugs are therefore inherently vulnerable to police interference and harassment, being publicly searched, being subjected to “mob justice” by the public, being arrested and being imprisoned.



Harm Reduction Academy Participants Visit at RCT

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On 25th January 2017, Participants of Cycle 3 of Harm reduction program at Harm Reduction Academy run by the Alliance for Public health paid a courtesy visit at our office for an exchange program; Reachout Centre Trust team took them through dissemination of our organization and the ongoing programs.

Reachout Centre trust team had an illuminating and edifying session with Participants which was graced by Member of parliament of local Government of Odessa Irina Kutsenko and Member of Parliament Mvita Constituency Abdulswamad Shariff Nassir who had been in the fore front championing for the rights of the People who use drugs, tabled bill in the Parliament to ammend Psychotropic Narcotic Act No of 1994 and enforcement of section 58 of Rehabilitation care.

The participants as well joined our outreach workers in an outreach program at ‘Go down’ Mombasa reaching out to People who use drugs.

People who use drugs were able to share their spiel with the participants as well as had a fortuitous to HIV testing and counseling, Clinical services and health talk.

Police sensitization on Handling Key population

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Through the support from Open Society Foundation of Eastern Africa, we partnered with Keeping Alive Societies Hope ( to refine Police officers from Coast Province on Key Populations Human Rights at Regional Police headquarters Mombasa.

The training aimed to curb Human Rights violation and spread of HIV among Key Population through law enforcers.

People who use drugs frequently have their security of person and bodily integrity violated, possessing and trafficking drugs is criminalized, this effectively criminalizes people who use drugs themselves.

People who inject drugs are singled out due to visual signs of having injected, and people who use drugs are stopped simply for looking as if they may be ‘under the influence’ of a psychoactive drug, they are therefore inherently vulnerable to police interference and harassment, being publicly searched, being subjected to invasive strip and cavity searches, being arrested and later being imprisoned by punitive laws that need to be reformed.

People who use drugs had an opportunity to share their experiences on how police handle them during their operation and how vulnerable they are, the two days sensitization forum aimed to combat harassment of People who use drugs and ending criminalization because of their behaviors which mostly is done by police.

The Police officers were taken through the process of Medically Assisted Therapy at Kisauni MAT Clinic and International practices to Combat Opoid Addiction from Dr.Saad Abdalla of United Nation Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

Sensitizating members of health Committee Mombasa county assembly on barriers surrounding key population

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Key population have for long been criminalized by harsh laws that do not understand their plea, this punitive policies violate international standard of human rights.

This drug control strategy relies on imprisonment as a preventive measure and aggressive law enforcement to reduce the drug supply; beyond doubt the moves have increased the incarceration rate.

There’s a need to have social, political and economic solutions to support marginalized, stigmatized and dehumanized Key population in the society.

Key populations are stigmatized because of the existing negative attitudes that people have towards them and harsh policies make it difficult for them to exercise their human rights, including accessing health services. Because of this, key populations face overt discrimination.

Reachout Centre Trust had a sensitization forum with members of health committee Mombasa county assembly, to advocate the need to formulate and reform existing Laws to support service provision and friendly services to the Key Populations in our society.

Members of health committee had a meaningful engagement with members of Key Population who shared their experiences from seeking public services and frequent Police harassments.