THE Management of the Sekou Toure Regional Referral hospital has praised President Samia Suluhu Hassan for establishment and opening of the Medically Assisted Therapy (MAT) clinic at the hospital for offering treatment to drug users free of charge.
The hospital, through its in Charge Dr Bahati Msaki, praised the Head of State during the commemoration of the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking which was held here at regional level.
She urged Lake zone residents with children, relatives or friends who are victims of drug abuse to use the MAT clinic since the hospital provides such treatment free of charge.
She said since the inauguration of the clinic, more than 500 clients have been enrolled at the hospital and provided with free treatments at the clinic, whereby some of them have changed their behaviours and their lifestyle as well.
“We are very grateful to President Samia Suluhu Hassan who has been working tirelessly to ensure things are moving well in the health sector,” she said.
For his part, the Deputy Country Director of ICAP Tanzania, Dr John Kahemele said the MAT Clinic at the hospital is the first ever Lake Zone’s methadone clinic.
Dr Kahemele explained that ICAP is implementing the MAT FIKIA+ project which is funded by the U.S President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through CDC Tanzania.
MAT Cite Manager, Dr Samwel Meshack, on the other hand said a total of 50 clients have successfully graduated from treatment under the program.
Dr Samwel emphasized that the centre however, apart from discharging its duties, continued to provide various services, including facility-led community outreach that aimed at educating the public on the negative effects of using drugs, comprehensive HIV prevention, testing campaign and treatment, psycho-social support, occupational therapy and tuberculosis treatments.
He clarified that the facility –led community outreach has provided better community –based HIV services to Persons who inject drugs (PWID) and People who use drugs (PWUD).
There has been success on joint supervision from the Drug Control and Enforcement Authority, the Ministry of Health and mentors from other regions who help in leading police sensitization meetings to bridge structural gap in the community.
For his part, STEPS Tanzania Program Manager, Ally Chihonda said STEPS Tanzania is supporting more than 150 drug users in Mwanza Region through Sekou Toure MAT Clinic with services such as methadone adherence sessions, refreshments and hygiene products provided freely at the Resource Centre located at Isamilo Ward in Nyamagana district.