School of Public Health
Tanzania-Policy analysis of services for people who inject drugs in Tanzania
In 1995 the Parliament of Tanzania enacted the Drugs and Prevention of Illicit Traffic in Drugs Act, which prohibited and penalized drug production, trafficking, possession, and use. The Act established the Drug Control Commission, which is responsible for developing national policies, carrying out drug control, and developing treatment and rehabilitation programs for people with drug addictions.
People who inject drugs (PWID), mainly heroin, in Tanzania have high rates of HIV. In Dar es Salaam, approximately 35% of PWID are living with HIV, compared to 5.1% in the general adult population. The World Health Organization, the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime and UNAIDS recommend opioid substitution therapy, such as methadone maintenance treatment, as a key HIV prevention, care and treatment intervention for PWID.
In response to the high HIV burden among PWID the Government of Tanzania, spearheaded by the Drug Control Commission and the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, started the first publicly-funded methadone maintenance treatment program on mainland sub-Saharan Africa with support from donors. The first medication-assisted treatment (MAT) clinic that offered methadone maintenance treatment was opened at the Muhimbili National Hospital in Dar es Salaam in February 2011. Since then, three additional MAT clinics have opened elsewhere. However, recent legislative changes further criminalize drug use and its consequences for PWID-targeted services are unclear.
PI Mentor: Daniela Rodriguez