Uganda Harm Reduction Network’s ED Wamala Twaibu on the first right in the front line with other participants during the Eastern Africa Harm Reduction Regional Meeting held in the coastal province of Kenya on March 27, 2013.

Eastern-Africa-Harm-Reduction-Regional-Meeting-340x255The objective of the meeting was to share experiences from the various harm reduction regions and to discuss on strengthening organizational development for a resilient harm reduction network which will cover the Eastern Africa region.

The major outcome of the meeting was that all the attending countries and organizations including Tanzania’s: MdM, Mukikute, TaNPUD, Uganda’s: Ugandan Harm Reduction Network, Zanzibar, Mauritius’s: CUT and Dr. Idrice treatment centre and Kenya agreed to establish and sustain a regional harm reduction network. It was noted that some work had already started way back on such a network on Sub-Saharan Africa by HRI in 2007. A small task force team of 5 from the countries represented at the meeting will work further on key shaping documents for the network.

This forum exposed the need to have stronger networking in the region since countries like Zanzibar and Uganda were still to incorporate harm reduction interventions in their setting. Ugandan counterparts reported that they are not aware of any research in Uganda that had specifically targeted IDUs and asked for technical support to contribute to response on drug use menace.

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About

Uganda Harm Reduction Network (UHRN) is a Community Based Organisation, established in 2011, Reg No. WCBO/1253/11, found by former drug users, to provide a national platform and reduce the health, social and economic harms associated with “drug use”. We further seek to develop an enabling environment for the implementation and expansion of human right interventions for Drug Users (IDUs, Sex Workers and Youth) in Uganda in partnerships with other stakeholders as we strive for victory. Vision: “A Ugandan society that reorganizes and protects the health, social, economic and human rights of drug users”. Mission: “To reduce the health, social and economic harms associated with drug use to develop an enabling environment for the implementation and expansion of human right interventions for drug users in Uganda. Objectives: We work to: • Promote access to cancer screening, psychosocial support and comprehensive care (HIV, SRHR, TB, and Hepatitis B and C treatment). • Organize and equip drug users whose rights have been violated to take responsibility of their health, social, economic wellbeing and sustainability through economic empowerment trainings and functional adult literacy programmes. • Document and expose human rights violations against drug users and call for legal protection and engage in policy reforms on laws that negatively impact on drug users. • Build partnership, synergy and develop the leadership capacity of drug users to take charge of their program. • Promote the health, social economic and human rights of “drug users” in Uganda irrespective of their social, economic, academic, cultural or political background. • Promote safer sex education such as condom use, needle and syringe exchange program, comprehensive care and mechanism on how to deal with issues of overdose, trafficking and violence against drug users. • Call for an enabling environment and strengthen partnerships towards “drug users”. Core values for UHRN: The driving forces that guide all actions and practices in 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.

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