Home » Harm reduction strategies gain momentum worldwide, saving lives and promoting health equity

Harm reduction strategies gain momentum worldwide, saving lives and promoting health equity

by Guru Aribam Naocha
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Harm reduction strategies gain momentum worldwide, saving lives and promoting health equity

IT News
Imphal, May 7:

The world commemorates International Harm Reduction Day, a pivotal global initiative aimed at promoting harm reduction approaches to drug use. These strategies, which prioritize saving lives and minimizing the negative consequences of drug use, have evolved significantly since their inception in the 1980s.
Harm reduction encompasses a spectrum of policies, programs, and practices designed to mitigate the adverse effects of drug use while upholding the rights of individuals and communities affected by it. From syringe exchange programs to Oral Substitution Therapy (OST) using medications like Buprenorphine, these interventions have demonstrated their effectiveness in reducing harm associated with drug use.
According to a 2017 review published in the Lancet Global Health, injecting drug use remains prevalent in 179 out of 206 countries, with alarmingly high rates of HIV and hepatitis C infections among people who inject drugs. The rising incidence of hepatitis B infection among injecting drug users (IDUs) further underscores the urgent need for comprehensive harm reduction strategies.
India stands out for its commitment to harm reduction, particularly through initiatives like the National AIDS Control Program (NACP). In states like Manipur, Mizoram, and Nagaland, which have long grappled with drug use and associated health risks, harm reduction programs have been integral to public health efforts. The Manipur State AIDS Control Society (MSACS) has spearheaded these initiatives, emphasizing community involvement and empowerment.
On this International Harm Reduction Day, the Manipur Users Collective (MUC) calls attention to several critical areas for consideration by state health authorities. These include the effectiveness of syringe exchange programs, the efficiency of Oral Substitution Therapy (OST), the establishment of responsive Community Response Groups (CRGs), advocacy for inclusivity in the Community Strengthening System (CSS), and the importance of updating Information, Education, and Communication (IEC) materials.
As we mark this day, let us reaffirm our commitment to evidence-based approaches that prioritize the health, dignity, and rights of all individuals affected by drug use. Together, we can work towards a world where harm reduction is embraced as a cornerstone of public health, promoting equity and well-being for all.

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Imphal Times is a daily English newspaper published in Imphal and is registered with Registrar of the Newspapers for India with Regd. No MANENG/2013/51092


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