Nigerian government accepts needle exchange pilots starting 2019

Nigerian government accepts needle exchange pilots starting 2019

In January, Rita Musa, the secretary of the Drug Harm Reduction Advocacy Network (DHRAN) in Nigeria  was invited to the CCM meeting  on the inclusion of harm reduction services in the Nigeria’s national programme. During the meeting, the Global Fund’s country team in Nigeria, were able to convince the Nigerian government to support needle exchange pilots. The team worked closely with the Global Fund’s principal recipients (National AIDS Control Agency, NACA, FHI360 and Society of Family Health, SFH) to develop a roadmap to get three needle exchange pilot projects started in Nigeria  in 2019. 

This is a major milestone as the Nigerian government has always been reluctant to start a harm reduction programme due to  lack of populations size estimates and epidemiology data among people who use drugs. As a result, people who use drugs  were neither considered as a key population  in the national programme nor  represented in the CCM.

Preparation has now started for the national 3-year Global Fund-supported  programme. In addition, an agreement has been reached between the Global Fund and principal recipients to organise a policy debate on harm reduction, an exchange visit to Kenya, and prepare for three needle exchange pilots. PITCH country focal point Anthony Nkwocha will coordinate PITCH partners, such as DHRAN and Youthrise, to influence the CCM participation process and ensure that the voices and demands of the key populations are represented through better coordination with the Nigeria key population secretariat.

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