The decision comes after PITCH embarked on a year of advocacy to convince the Ministry of Health of the need for the clinic.

“We first put forward the proposal for the clinic during a PEPFAR regional planning meeting in Johannesburg in March last year,” says Gracias Atwiine, PITCH country focal point in Uganda.

“The Ministry of Health claimed drug use was not a big issue in Uganda, also that it was a sensitive, multisectoral issue that needed the Ministry to work with other departments such as the Ministry of Internal Affairs, so they are not misinterpreted as promoters of drug use in Uganda. The Minister of Health [Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng] also said that she had not seen any size estimation report [on the number of people who inject drugs] to warrant or justify such a clinic.”