Duration: 2018-2019

Title: HIV and Drug use framework in Kenya and Ghana; A Public Health research and gender

Donor: RCNF

Young women are vulnerable in an ageist and patriarchal African society and young women
who use drugs especially live very challenging lives.
Drugs remain a vital component of healthcare delivery and the overall well being of citizens in
every nation and more importantly, the availability, access, affordability, safe and effective use
of drugs whether traditional or orthodox are also paramount. Even though the latter seems like
an area that is easily overlooked in Africa despite existing drug policies on the continent, it is
one area that needs and demands attention.
HIV and drug use are global public health issues. An estimated quarter of a billion people, or
around 5 percent of the global adult population, used drugs at least once in 2015. Opioids,
including heroin, remain the most harmful drug type in health terms. The use of opioids is
associated with the risk of fatal and non-fatal overdoses; the risk of acquiring infectious
diseases (such as HIV or hepatitis C) through unsafe injecting practices; and the risk of other
medical and psychiatric co-morbidities. Cocaine, heroin, cannabis form types of psychoactive
substances globally and in West Africa.
In 2016, there was an estimate of 36.7 million people living with HIV globally, and it was also
estimated that there are about 5000 new HIV infections every day, with 64% of these infections
occurring in sub-Saharan Africa. Within the African context, there are stark differences in the
rates of HIV prevalence depending on the region. For East and South Africa, it was estimated
that there were 19.4 million people living with HIV in 2016 whereas in West and Central Africa, it
was estimated that there were 6.1 million people living with HIV.
At the UN level Goal 3 of the SDGs seeks to
● Strengthen the prevention and treatment of substance abuse, including narcotic drug
abuse and harmful use of alcohol.
● By 2030, ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services,
including for family planning, information and education, and the integration of
reproductive health into national strategies and programmes.
● Achieve universal health coverage, including financial risk protection, access to quality
essential health-care services and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable
essential medicines and vaccines for all.
All these validate the the interlinkage between drug use and sexual and reproductive health of
women and its relevance to the SDGs. It reflects a dedication to address drug use and

The overall goal of the project is to identify gaps that exist as far as women who use drugs are
concerned using a public health and human rights approach to bring about social change.


  • To explore interventions that have been made on drug use
  • To collaborate with young women who use drugs and to proffer recommendations to ensure the availability, access to and healthy use of drugs by young women, adolescents and HIV infected persons.

To read more please click here: Public Health research on HIV and Drug use framework in Kenya and Ghana.