Theme: Models of Care Year: 2019
Background: Medecins du monde (France) MdM implements a Harm Reduction program for People
Who Use Drugs (PWUD) in Nairobi County. The success of harm reduction in Kenya is greatly sabotaged
by punitive drug laws. The Narcotic and Psychotropic Act of 1994 makes illegal: possession, use,
paraphernalia, and being in the environment of drug use. Consequently, police disproportionately target
PWUDs. This greatly affects prevention of Hepatitis C (HCV) and other harm reduction interventions.
Description of intervention: Since inception of the program 200 police officers are sensitized per a year
in harm reduction. Since 2016 the entry for the sensitizations shifted to HCV. The rationale of a HCV
entry to police sensitizations is to not only give them knowledge on HCV but also to encourage them to
join the rallying call for eliminating HCV in Kenya. This has seen unprecedented success.
Effectiveness: The number of police raids have reduced drastically to about one raid in 3 months from at
least once weekly. This has enhanced the Needle Syringe Program (NSP). Majority of the People Who
Inject Drugs (PWID) in Nairobi rely on street storage for the syringes due to homelessness or due to
stigma so that they cannot carry the syringes home. Consequently, the tremendous reduction in police
raids is a big boost to the efficacy of NSP and prevention of HCV.
Conclusion and next steps: Police are more responsive to a HCV tailored harm reduction sensitization
than a general harm reduction sensitization. The next step is to engage policy makers for change of law.
HCV will be the entry point as it is more effective.
A Disclosure of Interest Statement: No Interests