The first Methadone assisted therapy (MAT) clinic in Kiambu County was officially opened at Karuri level 4 hospital on the 13th of March, slightly a year after the groundbreaking ceremony in February 2019. The occasion was graced by the Governor of Kiambu County James Nyoro and the CAS from the Ministry of Health, Dr Rashid Abdi Aman.
The one-stop clinic will offer free services to PWUDs incorporating opioid substitute therapy and outpatient care including services for HIV, TB Mental Health, sexual and reproductive health, non-communicable diseases, treatment for Hepatitis C, social support and counselling and referrals for complicated cases.
Responding to requests by the partners and the recovering addicts, the governor promised sustainability of the clinic and committed to offering cheap credit and vocational training for the recovering addicts. He also said the county would avail an ambulance for the clinic and work towards making the clinic a Centre of excellence.
The state of the art clinic was funded by the MSF-Belgium who will manage the facility in collaboration with Kiambu County for the next three years. This project was achieved through a partnership with the County Government of Kiambu, NASCOP, MSF and LVCT Health.
The CAS, Dr Rashid Abdi Aman welcomed the construction of the clinic and praised it for adhering to international standards and installation of advanced equipment to offer quality services. He supported the harm reduction initiative offered at the clinic, which has been praised in crime reduction. He called on everyone present to do all it takes to end drug use and HIV in Kenya.
Kiambu county is ranked fourth after Mombasa, Nairobi and Kilifi counties in the number of people who use drugs, specifically heroin. In 2017, LVCT Health conducted a people who use drugs (PWUDs) mapping exercise in Kiambu county, which found out that there were more than 1,300 people who inject drugs in the county with only a few enrolled for MAT in Nairobi county. This meant that they had to make a trip to Nairobi every day for their daily dose of methadone, which led to most of them reverting to drug use.
The Kiambu MAT clinic opened its doors to the public in September 2019, and has an enrolment of 149 PWUDs and managed to have 2 patients fully recovered. Amongst its other achievements to date includes 683 medical consultations, 445 mental health counselling sessions, identified 5 HIV positive patients and enrolled them for treatment and enrolled 3 TB patients for treatment.
LVCT Health acts as the first stop to most drug users before their induction for methadone at the clinic. LCT Health through its experience in working in the community facilitates the preparation for MAT enrolment by; explaining what MAT entails, preparing drug users for MAT, explaining MAT use rules and involving family members to offer support recovering addicts.
Dr. Lilian Otiso, the Executive Director of LVCT Health, thanked the MSF for building the clinic and Kiambu county for the partnership, she also thanked the recovering addicts for starting the journey and their families for supporting them.
By Alfred Itunga