Tanzania opens fifth Methadone clinic
Prime Minister, Kassim Majaliwa has launched a Methadone Clinic at the Mbeya Zonal Referral Hospital (MZRH) in the Southern Highlands whose full capacity is up to 1,500 clients a day.
The Premier launched the clinic on Monday in Mbeya region.
“This is the fifth methadone clinic in the country; it is encouraging to see that the Mbeya Zonal Hospital will now, offer services to our youth who are injecting opioid drugs,” he said.
He said in a statement that providing Opioid Substitution Therapy (OST) or Medically Assisted Treatment (MAT) is one of the HIV prevention strategies the government is working on, through the Ministry of Health in its attempts to reduce the risk factors for HIV/AIDS.
He said the newly- opened methadone clinic is a gift to the people of Tanzania from the American people and is financially supported by the US Department of Defense-Walter Reed Program (WRP), President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), with technical assistance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The clinic offers Medically Assisted Treatment (MAT) for heroin injectors in Mbeya and the Southern Highlands zone in general.
It is expected to serve up to 600 clients in the first 12 months of operation.
The MAT clinic will dispense methadone as an alternative to opiate use for heroin injectors and will also offer HIV counselling, testing and care and treatment; TB clinic services; cervical cancer screening services, STI diagnosis and treatment, and substance abuse counseling and psychosocial support.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 10 percent of new HIV infections worldwide are attributable to injecting drug use, often of an opiate such as heroin.
In Tanzania, people injecting drugs are approximately 30,000 with a high HIV prevalence of 36 percent according to the National Aids Control Program (NACP) national consensus report in 2014.