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Type of submission: Oral
Conference track: Advocacy
Topics: Harm Reduction Advocacy and Activism; Harm Reduction Services and Service Provision
Presenting author: BOUZZITOUM Faouzia
No biography entered.
Mohammed Essalhi, GHACHAOUI Mustapha, BOUZZITOUM Faouzia, ALAMI Kamal, ELOMARI Bouteina, RACHIDI Soumia
The first AIDS case in Morocco has been diagnosed in 1986. Country has waited for two decades to include people who inject drugs (PWIDs) in the scope of HIV/AIDS interventions. Concern on drug use comes originally in a mental health and addiction perspective. First evidence was produced by a 2003 nationwide mental health survey showing 4.8% drug use prevalence. Further rapid assessment studies undertaken by Ministry of Health established at-risk behaviors associated with the spread of blood-borne viruses among PWIDs. Alongside, health professionals involved in a public mental health facility in Tangiers together with civil society stakeholders decided to commit to address this challenge. They have set up Hasnouna NGO in Tangiers in May 2006. Hasnouna has introduced the really first needles and syringes program (NSP) in December 2007.
Hasnouna have strongly advocated for a governmental endorsement of Harm Reduction. The first national harm reduction action plan was implemented between 2008 and 2011 under the supervision of the Ministry of Health. This plan enabled the introduction of NSPs in 2008 and opioid substitution therapy in 2010. UNAIDS evaluation paved the way for a second national plan aiming to increase the coverage in harm reduction services. Hasnouna has played a key role in disseminating harm reduction at nationwide while setting up a national Harm Reduction NGO (“RdR Maroc”) and a national Training and Resource centre.
Harm Reduction services coverage is still low but beneficiaries’ uptake is increasing throughout eleven Harm Reduction programs – ten being run by Hasnouna/RdR Maroc, one by HIV/AIDS organization ALCS – and six methadone centres run by Ministry of Health. Average annual number of clean syringes for PWIDs raised from 7 in 2010 to 80 in 2014; over 1,000 methadone patients have been included. Thus Morocco became the second MENA country to join the Harm Reduction movement.