My race against drug use: Monica Wanja, an outreach worker from Omari project, Malindi

My race against drug use: Monica Wanja, an outreach worker from Omari project, Malindi

“I am a recovering female drug user born and raised in Malindi for the better part of my life. As a teenager I made very wrong choices as most people do and that changed my life for good. I ran away from home and started using drugs due to peer pressure. At first I was smoking heroine but later moved to injecting .To enable me sustain my drug injection habits I started trading my body for money. Suffice it to say, I never had a home to sleep as my parents would not accept me back as long as I was taking drugs. I slept in the drug dens and for me anyone willing to have sex with me at a fee was more than welcome. It never mattered to me what position he held in the society as long as I would get money to buy drugs and quench my cravings.

All along I felt trapped in the habit of using drugs .My family, children and everyone else close to me never wanted to have anything to do with me. I was crying out for help but all I got was blame and blank stares of people wondering why I got myself in the mess. I want to request people to empathize with any female drug user they come across. Kindly do not take advantage of them, help them. There are many challenges that female IDUs face as compared to men including rape, sexual violence, physical violence, intimidation and generally being looked upon by the society. Aren’t women supposed to be mothers, wives, sisters to nurture yet human too that they sometimes are caught up in antisocial behavior?

 I tried quitting drugs desperately for so long but every time I tried I found myself at it again. The withdrawal pain was unbearable to say the least. One day I made a decision that I will be quitting drugs and resolved to go back home to my parents. I was already seven months pregnant and I was a pale shadow of my former self. I was emaciated, sick and very weak. Though the craving was very tempting I made some home remedy but all turned to be detrimental .I became delusional, speaking incoherent words that no one could understand. My mother became very worried and called in an outreach worker from The Omari project to help me. The project Manager was contacted and he directed that I be rushed to Omari drugs and rehabilitation center where I was admitted and treated for months. The organization catered for my bills.

Upon leaving the rehab I decided that at no time will I ever go back to using drugs .Omari project gave me a job as an outreach worker to sustain myself and my children. It’s very important to ensure recovering IDUs have means of livelihood otherwise they will go back to using drugs. Through the support of CAHR program I have visited different countries to learn about harm reduction and have used the experience to support the female IDUs. I am a living testimony that IDUs if supported can stop using drugs and lead a meaningful life just like any other persons. Let’s not lose hope in supporting them. One step at a time and eventually they will get there.

Support don’t punish us; the only way to win the war against drugs (Mohamud active drug user)

I have been using drugs for many years in Malindi town .What appalls me is the level of stigma and discrimination accorded to the IDUs and all drug users by the society. To them we are no better off that garbage because someone can get something to sell from garbage but the IDUs that are just worthless .Its not my wish that I am an IDU.I have tried so many times to stop injecting but this has  not been easy. I wonder if people know how we feel due to withdrawal symptoms if we do not inject. If it was as easy as it sounds then I assure you that no drug user will be in the street right now. Just as the campaign on drug users states, support  us don’t punish. This is what we need .I thank Omari Project for the support that have given me, though I am not out of the woods yet , I will definitely  succeed to quit drugs all together .All I need is support , support and more support from my family and society at large.

 My Journey with my Injecting Drug User Son: A story from a parent whose son is a recovering drug user -Malindi

“My  son had been using drugs for so many years I cannot even remember. What I went through as a parent is something that I would never wish any other parents to go through. He made our lives hell as we were all without peace as a family. I would literary handcuff him and rush to the police station to have him arrested but the police would tell me they cannot arrest him without any evidence that he has done anything wrong. One time I managed to have him locked at least for a few months or so I thought. As I went home, I was happy that I will have a few months peace in my house. I was shocked the following day when he was released and I was informed he was on probation to do some community work.

I knew I would not win this battle alone hence decided to work with Omari project to support my son deal with drugs problems. Things did not work as I had anticipated and he did not complete his treatment. I never lost hope but continued supporting him and I was very happy when after the last rehabilitation he made a decision to quit drugs altogether. It has been more that 5 years and my son has remained clean .Most of the time people forget the parents and close family of the drug users They suffer as much as the drug users and what makes it even harder is that they are very desperate to help but they do not know how. I wish the programs on harm reduction can have s special focus on parents and families to fully support the drug user’s .I will forever remain indebted to Omari project and other people who supported my son in one way or the other to quit drugs. All I can say it everything is possible, all we need it to have our eyes focused on the goal which is a drug abuse free society”

Initiating the change we want to see; Former TB patients engage their MP

Initiating the change we want to see; Former TB patients engage their MP

When a group of citizen advocates from West lands learnt that the Government of Kenya (GoK) could no longer support procurement of TB medicines, they ressolved to write letters to their MP, Hon. Tim Wanyonyi.  They informed him about the issue asking him to consider discussing supplementary funding for TB first line drugs and diagnositcs facilities. 

GOK National budget have continued to under prioritize health and have failed to allocate a bugdet line for TB first line drugs in the Fincancial year 2013/14 and currently 2014 / 2015. 

“We were once TB patients and attribute our cure to medicines that were made available to us for free. We are a volunateer group in the community who encourage community members to get screened for TB while those on treatment to complete their doses as instructed by the health providers.  If supplies for drugs are going to fall short in a few months, then we have cause to worry.  Our MP is Hon. Wanyonyi and we are writng to him about the drug stock out ” says Stephen the group leader of the Westland Nairobi TB advocates”. 

Writing letters to elected leaders is one of the actions that citizens use to demonstrate to policy makers the depth of health issues affecting them.  KANCO continues to offer a strong support system to citizens in various parts of the country who organize themselves in citizen chapters; Results based approach.  Grassroots citizen continue to grow incredibility as more of them have begun engaging leaders like Members of Parliament and their aides. 

Many such citizen chapters are coming up nationally in a process geared towards influencing policy and the health outcomes for the citizens.  This model is crafted from the Results model of advocacy aimed at creating political will from the grassroots as citizens, to exercise their personal and political power to influence change in the health sector. 

By Joyce Matogo

Grassroots Manager 

Email: jmatogo@kanco.org

FUNDING FOR TUBERCULOSIS CONTROL IN KENYA

FUNDING FOR TUBERCULOSIS CONTROL IN KENYA

BACKGROUND

Kenya remains in the list of High TB Burden Countries that contribute 80% of the total TB global burden, and is ranked fourth in Africa after South Africa, Nigeria and Ethiopia. In 2010, the country was recognized by WHO for its efforts in TB control and becoming the first country in Africa to meet the WHO targets for Case Finding and Treatment Success rates. Since then, the country has been making progress towards eliminating TB by investing in efforts to increase case detection and treatment success rates among other TB indicators.

The GOK has continually supported procurement of first line anti TB medicines to the tune of 60% (about Ksh. 280m) with the donors (World bank, Global Fund, USAID) supporting the other 40%. The Country had built adequate stocks of buffer for the first line anti-TB medicines such that as at July 2013, we had approximately 12 months’ worth of buffer stock at national level.

PROBLEM

The National TB control program has continuously reported funding gaps each financial year.For instance in 2013 alone, there was a funding gap of 61% of the total required funding for that year .(See table below). In addition to this deficit, it is sad to note that there was no allocation for TB first line drugs in the FY 2013/2014. This seems to be a trend with the same happening in the FY2014/2015 on the basis that TB drugs procurement is the responsibility of development partners.

As a result, the country ran out of stock of first line TB drugs in March 2014. This was after missing a cycle of procurement for 2013/ 2014 and utilizing all the buffer stocks. This forced the Government through the Ministry of Health to borrow the drugs from friendly neighbouring Malawi. A six months stock was given which is likely to run out in September 2014. This is just but a temporary measure which is not sustainable.

The TB program has written lots of correspondence to the Ministry of Health and Treasury citing the lack of allocation of funds for procurement as a factor that will lead to reversal of gains made in TB treatment success. A request was made for the supplementary budget in February 2014 to which an allocation was made. However, this was devolved to the counties with no instructions and guidelines on what to prioritize. The counties did not therefore procure the drugs. Procurement of TB drugs has been delegated to the counties, where there are no adequate systems for effective drugs procurement and for quality assurance. Similarly, it would be difficult for partners such as Global Drug Facility to fund counties directly.

If the issue of TB drugs stock outs is not addressed, the country is likely to experience increased cases of Drug Resistant Tuberculosis strain that is costing the country hundreds of millions to treat and manage.

The table below summarises the TB funding situation in Kenya:

Funding source

percentage

Total annual funding required

100(55 Million USD

Domestic source( Government)

24

International sources

15

Funding gap

61%

Source :( WHO report 2013)

Shortage in funds may lead to loss of lives as a result of patients not accessing essential TB services and treatment.  This does not only derail attainment of health targets at the country level as well as the global level but also hampers development.

We ask FOR your support to ensure that

1. The Ministry of Health and County Governments urgently coordinate and to ensure procurement of TB first line drugs and other commodities is a priority.

2. The Government to commit to finance 100% of the first line TB drugs in the subsequent budgets

By Evelyn Kibuchi

TB advocacy project ManagerTB advocacy project Manager

Email: ekibuchi@kanco.org

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