By Njoroge Kinuthia
The Government is planning to provide free needles and syringes to intravenous narcotic drug users countrywide.
This is expected to curb the spread of HIV/Aids among drug users through sharing of contaminated needles. The move will also reduce the spread of other blood-transmitted diseases such as hepatitis C.
The Ministry of Public Health is currently consulting with communities most hard hit by the drugs’ menace to chart the way forward. Ironically, the plan has become a divisive subject in Mombasa, winning support and opposition in equal measure.
Those supporting the move cite the obvious advantage of checking the spread of HIV. Those opposing it argue that providing free needles and syringes would encourage more youths to engage in drug abuse.
Although it is unlikely that anyone will turn into a drug user merely because of being provided with free needles, it would be imprudent to dismiss their fears. That’s why provision of free needles must go hand in hand with rehabilitation and education programmes.
State mum over deaths in South Sudan
Now and then, innocent people are shot dead in this or that part of the world by some deranged minds or overzealous, wayward law enforcers.
Newly independent South Sudan, notes Mr Githuku Mungai, has not been spared this madness and several Kenyans have lost their lives due to such maniacs in the country. “Some were killed as a result of business rivalry, others died after they differed armed men, at times over minor issues.”
A Kenyan teacher was for instance killed in Juba on May 15. She was buried last Saturday in her father’s farm at Kwa Kathoka village, Makueni District. Mungai was shot dead when she allegedly failed to stop when the country’s national anthem was being played as the national flag was being lowered.