On May 22nd, Aksion Plus opened another methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) centre in the city of Elbasan, Albania. This is the fourth centre opened with the support of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria for the last two years. The MMT centre in Tirana was opened in 2005 with the assistance of the OSI International Harm Reduction Development Programme, and currently provides services to nearly 130 clients daily. Three doctors, three counselors, one nurse and two outreach staff are employed under this project. Further complementary projects are provided by UNICEF, UNFPA and ICCO.
The MMT centre in Elbasan is expected to provide services to around 80 clients. According to the local police, more than 120 problematic drug users need immediate help with therapy and support. Since last year, when Aksion Plus started its first efforts to introduce this intervention in Elbasan, the local government and the health authorities have been very open and supportive, as this city is heavily affected by drug use. Many clients from Elbasan have been treated in the Tirana MMT centre, and they will now have the possibility to get this lifesaving services in their own town. Not only will the city of Elbasan benefit from this new service, so will other suburbs and small neighbouring communities.
The opening of the centre was featured in the local media (ETV) and other main TV/media channels (TOP News, Koha Jone, ATA).