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Global Fund team visits DRHAN to discuss Drug Harm Reduction

In a recent visit, representatives of the Global Fund Country team, met with the DHRAN team to discuss and monitor 2021 and 2022 Q1 grant performance and implementation.

In addition to this, the team used the opportunity to follow up with country stakeholders on the progress of OIG AMAs i.e., the TB prevalence survey and the PMTCT plan.

Visiting members of the team also met with the new PEPFAR coordinator including some HIV/TB stakeholders and partners to discuss the New Funding Cycle as well as the early planning processes for the development of qualitative funding requests and timely submission in 2023 of the country fund request.

While speaking at the meeting, the team encouraged stakeholders to accelerate program implementation to improve impact and absorption and to contribute to the Replenishment investment case and messages.

As a part of the mission, a consultation meeting was arranged with DHRAN.

Present at the meeting which took place at DHRAN’s office in Abuja, were Keithe Meinies – Technical Advisor – Community Systems and Responses (CRG), Aba David Ali – Finance Secretary – CHRAN, Rita Musa – National Secretary – DHRAN, Aniedi Akpan – National Chairperson – DHRAN, Chukwu Emeka – NSP Program Manager, Isah Dansallah – TB Representative – DHRAN, and Philip Nang – Executive Secretary – DHRAN.

To encourage the participation of as many stakeholders as possible, DHRAN made available a virtual participation option via zoom.

The engagement kicked off with a brief introduction of all attendees both physically and virtually.

During the conversation, the DHRAN team started by highlighting the Network’s position and progressive efforts and contributions specifically toward the implementation of Harm Reduction programs through the DHRAN membership of the National Technical Working on Harm Reduction and Drug Demand Reduction led by the Federal Ministry of Health.

Further, into the conversation, team members of the network highlighted their efforts in regards to the piloting of the Needle and syringe program (NSP) in the country, the implementation of the Opioid Substitution Treatment (OST), the development of guidelines and Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for Implementation of OST in Nigeria.

Challenges in the GFHIV implementation for people who use drugs were also highlighted. This included the need to re-start the implementation of the Community-led Needle and Syringe Program in the 3 states and a scale-up of the program to other states not covered with emphasis on the need to allow for community distribution of Naloxone.

Another major challenge that was highlighted is the criminalization of drug use and possession by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) act: Cap. N30 (1989).  This harms the implementation of community-based comprehensive Harm Reduction programs, especially as this section of the law does not clearly define what quantity constitutes possession for re-distribution.

This was noted as a threat to the implementation of harm reduction as the Law possesses a threat to not just the beneficiaries of Harm reduction services but community peer workers.

Other discussions centered on the Implementation of the GF/ViiV program for women who use drugs in Nigeria and Tuberculosis implementation gaps in respect of people who use drugs.

The Global Fund representative gave some insights on preparations to restart the NSP, including a review of the supply chain to allow for stock availability and smooth implementation of the NSP.

He also highlighted the need to set up community consultations with Key Populations typology and a communication forum for easy engagement with the Key Population representative at the Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM).

Conclusively, the Global Fund representative Mr. Keith thanked the attendees and emphasized the need for continuous dialogue with other Key Populations groups to allow for more input into the CCM decisions and the Country Grant.

The DHRAN team presented the Global Fund representative with the DHRAN Advocacy Calendars and Diaries.

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