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Reflection workshop towards the introduction of opioid agonist treatments in Burundi

ByWebmaster

Feb 9, 2023

BUJUMBURA February 9th (ABP) – The Ministry of Public Health and the Fight against AIDS in collaboration with the Burundian Alliance for the Fight against AIDS and for the Promotion of Health (ABS) organized on Tuesday February 7, 2023, a two-day reflection workshop towards the introduction of opioid agonist treatments in Burundi, as part of the Nyumviriza project, a check on the site by ABP has revealed.

The Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Public Health and the Fight against AIDS, Mr. Olivier Nijimbere, specified, in his speech opening the activities, that the Ministry commends the efforts of civil society engaged in the promotion of community health, which support its noble journey towards good health for all. This stems from the fact that the organizations of that civil society active in the fight against HIV/AIDS, like ABS, are aligned with the national strategy to fight against that virus while taking into account the priorities of the Global Fund in Burundi.

Mr. Nijimbere recalled that the national strategy for the fight against HIV mentions the importance of targeting specific groups in prevention, testing, care and support interventions, in order to achieve the goals of the 3×95 UNAIDS by 2025, as well as a 70% reduction in new HIV infections. He also pointed out that the Global Fund insists on interventions to reduce the risks of the virus, particularly among people who use injection drugs.

It is within the framework of the reduction of those risks that the ABS requested and obtained the support of the ministry, during the drawing up and the implementation of the Nyumviriza project (listen to me), which is a project of strengthening accessibility to risk reduction services for injection drug users, including the removal of gender-related barriers to access in Bujumbura and the other six provinces of Burundi.

Indeed, he said, the health risks associated with drug use are numerous and multifaceted. They vary according to the nature and composition of the narcotics, the mode of consumption, the quantity consumed, the duration of use, the age of onset of consumption, the social context or the context of their consumption. According to Mr. Nijimbere, it is obvious that injecting drug users are much more exposed to diseases such as HIV, viral hepatitis, tuberculosis, … with a chain of related consequences.

In doing so, he said, the prevention, testing and support interventions carried out by the Nyumviriza project implementation consortium will contribute to improving the health of the people and gradually to their socio-economic reintegration so that they can play the role of citizen promoters of the country’s development. He did not fail to recall that the objective of that workshop is to sensitize decision-makers on the public health benefits of opiate substitution treatments and thus to pave the way to facilitate their introduction in Burundi.

Taking the floor, the representative of the ABS, Mrs. Adelphine Niyuhire, recalled that the ABS has the mission to promote and awaken the effective participation of civil society in the definition of the implementation, policy monitoring and evaluation, national strategies and programs to fight against HIV/AIDS. She also added that the Nyumviriza project helps people who use drugs and sensitizes young Burundians so that they can give up drug use. Mrs. Niyuhire also took the opportunity to sensitize young Burundians not to use drugs in order to protect their health.