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Tanzania's First Methadone Clinic A Smashing Success

In 2011, the Tanzanian government opened the country's first methadone maintenance clinic, and a new study is highlighting successes the program has achieved thus far.
by K. Lanktree Modified: July 15, 2014 at 8:42 pm •  Published: July 15, 2014
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In 2011, the Tanzanian government opened the country's first methadone maintenance clinic, and a new study is highlighting successes the program has achieved thus far.

Prior to the clinics opening in [Dar es Salaam], Tanzania was struggling with a growing epidemic of people who inject drugs. Home to approximately 50,000 intravenous drug users (particularly heroin) and facing the complex issues of needle sharing and unprotected sex; the prevalence rates of HIV began to increase at alarming rates.

"71 percent of women and girls who inject drugs are estimated to be living with HIV and estimates of HIV prevalence among men and women who inject drugs across the nation’s capital, [Dodoma], range from 42 percent to 50 percent in a city where overall HIV prevalence is estimated at just under 7 percent,” according to ScienceSpeaksblog.org.

But after only two years in operation, amazing things have begun to happen. In that short period of time, with funding assistance from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, the methadone maintenance clinic located in a national hospital in Dar es Salaam managed to serve 629 people who were struggling with an addiction to opiates. Not only that, but they have managed to retain more than half of those patients over the course of two years in operation, which is an attrition rate comparable to programs in other countries.

Various reasons were cited as to why the 264 people were no longer in the program, ranging from discharge due violation of terms of service (2%), death (3%) and patient drop out (95%). Those with the highest rates of attrition were young males, lower dose patients (less than 40mg) and those reporting a history of sexual abuse, whereas clients who were older and female were more likely to stay in the program.

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by K. Lanktree
NewsOK Contributor
K. Lanktree is a Freelance Writer, Former IV Drug User, Methadone Patient & Harm Reduction Advocate. She is dedicated to reducing the stigma and discrimination of Addiction and IV Drug Users through education, writing and poetry.
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