Under the Bridging the Gaps 2 programme, Mainline aspires to support harm reduction services in Tanzania. To fully understand the opportunities, needs and socio-political circumstances, Mainline organised two scoping visits in 2016. The situation for people who use drugs in the United Republic of Tanzania is delicate.

With the election of a new president in July 2016, many established guidelines for working with key populations and NGOs are being revisited and revised. The approved new guidelines around key populations and HIV should be made public by the beginning of 2017. The revisions are causing some uncertainty because it’s unclear, for example, whether the guidelines around Needles and Syringe Programmes (NSP) might be altered. 

Tanzania has fulfilled a leading role in the East African region by introducing an exceptionally successful harm reduction programme – including a strong NSP component and methadone distribution in Dar es Salaam. However, the continuation of this great work is not certain as recent incidents show. For example, the new president, since taking office, has outlawed lubricants in an effort to discourage men from having sex with men. It is very possible that similar decisions will be made where it concerns service delivery for people who use drugs.

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