East Africa accounts for one fifth of overall estimated injecting drug user population in Africa with estimates of 261,507. A large number of the injecting drug user communities live in Ethiopia, Kenya, Mauritius and Tanzania and with high HIV prevalence rates; Mauritius 51%, Tanzania 42% and Kenya 18%. Moreover, the PWID population is at a substantial higher risk of infection from HIV and other blood borne infections. Limited data, criminalization, poor coordination and low coverage of services has hindered strategic approach to harm reduction policies within the region.
The little advocacy undertaken has positioned drug policy reform and needs of PWID as a public health concern which has led to various programmatic and policy efforts. Such include the establishment of a policy framework for a national HIV and harm reduction response targeting PWID by the Kenyan ministry of health and roll out of standard operating guidelines for initiating harm reduction.