Uganda Harm Reduction Network (UHRN) is a youth led; drug user organization established in 2011 and registered as company limited by guarantee; Reg. No. 181733 to respond to the drug use crisis in Uganda. UHRN is best placed to utilize practical interventions aimed at supporting and addressing issues of people who use drugs. The organization seeks to provide a national platform for health and policy programs that promote good practices and advocate for a supportive environment for the implementation and expansion of harm reduction programs for drug users-sex workers, young people and Injecting Drug Users (IDU). Currently UHRN is the only drug users organization advocating for the inclusion of “harm reduction programmes and services” for drug users in Uganda.
Vision: A society where drug users are empowered to make informed decisions on the impacts of drugs and substance use and live a life that gives them hope in Uganda.
Mission: To improve the health and socio-economic well-being of drug users by offering prevention and intervention services aimed at reducing the harms associated with drug use in Uganda.
Objectives: We work to:
1. Improve the quality of and the access to HIV and TB prevention, treatment, care and support services for people who use drugs in Uganda
2. Improve the human rights of people who use drugs in Uganda
3. Integrate specific services for people who use drugs within the general health systems in Uganda.
4. Strengthen the capacity of Uganda Harm Reduction Network to effectively address/work on HIV, TB and other drug user needs in Uganda.
5. Develop and strengthen a comprehensive and concerted approach to HIV, TB and drug use by partnering and networking with other partners and other stakeholders at national, regional and international level.
6. Advocate for integrated and comprehensive one stop centre for HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services for drug users and make use of the existing research and support new research in the fields of access to quality treatment care and support.
7. Support re-integration program aimed at organizing drug users to take responsibility of their programmes such as; sustainable livelihood and empower them to access quality, affordable, available HIV services in Uganda.
8. Improving access to HIV prevention as treatment, care and support services among young people who use drugs (sex workers, young people in schools and street children among others) in Uganda.
9. Building of partnerships, synergy and develop leadership capacity/skills building for drug users by developing and providing tools, training space and support on issues such as prevention, health interventions, policies, ethics, and technologies at all levels.
10. Conduct outreaches, referrals and follow-ups to encourage HIV testing and counselling (CHTC), dissemination of condoms and tracking, information on clean injecting practices, safe sexual education and home visits to bedridden drug users.
11. Advocate for the documentation and communication of HIV prevention best practices, stories and experiences for drug users to back up our advocacy work, policy analysis, research and consultations with key stakeholders both locally and internationally.
A Comprehensive UHRN’s Health Care interventions for People Who Use Drugs;
- Needle and syringe exchange programmes
- Mobilisation for HIV testing and Counselling
- Referral for Antiretroviral therapy, follow-ups
- Referral for Prevention diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis
- Referral for Vaccination diagnosis and treatment of viral hepatitis
- Referral for Prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted infections
- Referral for opioid substitution therapy and other drug dependency treatment.
- Condom distribution programmes for people who use drugs and their sexual partners
- Sharing information, education and communication for people who use drugs.
No single activity will prevent or reverse HIV epidemics but the greatest impact can be achieved if all these nine interventions are implemented as a package.
The driving forces that guide all our actions and practices at UHRN are:-
- Social justice, protection and recognition in society
- Love and respect for one another.
- Support and care for one another
- Honesty in all our undertakings
- Empathy for each other as drug users
- Sharing the available resources.