In January, Rita Musa, the secretary of the Drug Harm Reduction Advocacy Network (DHRAN) in Nigeria was invited to the CCM meeting on the inclusion of harm reduction services in the Nigeria’s national programme. During the meeting, the Global Fund’s country team in Nigeria, were able to convince the Nigerian government to support needle exchange pilots. The team worked closely with the Global Fund’s principal recipients (National AIDS Control Agency, NACA, FHI360 and Society of Family Health, SFH) to develop a roadmap to get three needle exchange pilot projects started in Nigeria in 2019.
This is a major milestone as the Nigerian government has always been reluctant to start a harm reduction programme due to lack of populations size estimates and epidemiology data among people who use drugs. As a result, people who use drugs were neither considered as a key population in the national programme nor represented in the CCM.