July 1, 2010

The governments of Tanzania and the United States have announced that the first medication- assisted therapy (MAT) program for drug users in sub-Saharan Africa will begin shortly at two sites in Dar es Salaam and one in Zanzibar. Recognizing that high-risk practices related to drug use contribute to HIV transmission, the Tanzania Drug Control Commission (DCC) has promoted and adopted novel and evidence-based interventions to facilitate improved access to services that prevent HIV among drug users. Working with colleagues from the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, former Humphrey Drug Abuse Research Fellow Dr. Amani Msami Kisanga, who leads the DCC Education, Information & Statistics Section, helped draft five documents outlining Tanzania’s response to HIV among drug users, including policy guidelines, an outreach service guide for HIV prevention among drug users, healthcare facility standards for MAT programs, clinical guidelines, and a substance abuse screening and brief intervention protocol for primary care settings. The documents were based in part on research conducted in Dar es Salam by National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) International Program grantees Dr. Sheryl A. McCurdy, Dr. Michael W. Ross, and Dr. Mark L. Williams, University of Texas at Houston, and their Tanzanian partners Dr. Gad P. Kilonzo and Dr. M. T. Leshabari, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences. The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) supported the DCC policy development and implementation efforts.