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Kenya drug addicts to get free needles, syringes

MOMBASA, Kenya, May 25 – The government has purchased eight million needles and syringes to be distributed to over 46,000 people addicted to drugs.

Coast Provincial Director of Public Health and Sanitation Anisa Omar said the consignment has already been shipped and the distribution exercise is expected to start next week in Nairobi and Mombasa.

Anisa said the Coast region was leading in drug addicts were 26,667 have be identified, with Nairobi having 22,500 addicts.

Anisa said the distribution would be coordinated by the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation through several NGOs.

The first phase of the distribution will run for a year.

Addressing a press conference during the project launch at a Mombasa hotel, Anisa said there was need for the government to collaborate with NGOs to address the alarming number of new HIV infections associated with sharing of needles and syringes.

According to the National Aids and STI Control Programme, Anisa said about one in every five people who inject drugs in Nairobi and Coast are living with HIV, adding that one in every 16 new HIV infections in the two cities are attributed to injecting drugs.

She said there was enough evidence worldwide that the needle and syringe programme reduces cases of HIV and other blood transmitted infections among people who inject drugs.

Nacada Director Sheikh Juma Ngao said the government was doing its best to fight drug abuse.

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“The government is committed to fighting drug trafficking and I call upon for close surveillance of all our boarders to ensure no drugs found their way into the country,” said Sheikh Ngao.


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