Escaping Addiction in Tanzania
An interview with Pius John of PVP, a social enterprise aiming to develop local people with an aim of removing their drug dependence.
How has the video been received?
It has been received very positively both locally and internationally. As
Openair Media www.openairmediatz.com , expert in awareness creation we
created program for PVP videos to make sure that it effect the community.
First of all we have evening screenings, the educational films including the
song is projected into a giant inflatable screen in the open sky-this
happens three time in a month. Another program is Daytime screenings, PVP
and Openair targets/show video to specific groups in the community.
Also the video is used in several events such as World's HIV/AIDs day and
other more. Many Institutions requesting the video, for example the Temeke
council is calling for more screenings in schools (primary and secondary).
Also the song is being played by several TV stations especially East African
TV and Dar es Salaam TV.
Can you give us an idea of some of the content of the lyrics?
“Tanzania without HIV is possible!”
“To reduce the risks associated is possible!”
“I was so sick of fever, thinking that, I have been witched
But Mu expectation was wrong
Sharing the same syringe spreading the virus”
How prevalent is drug use in Tanzania?
There is no proper size estimation yet but in our country drug use is
nowadays well established and appears to be increasing. The destimation is
at about 250,000 drug users country wide with most of the users concentrated
in big cities, especially Dar es Salaam. Probably no less than 18,000
injectors in that city only where we have worked with PVP. PWUD remain
extremely vulnerable. HIV and hepatitis C seropositivity data from Doctors
of the World Rapid Assessment and Response (RAR) showed that among PWUD in
Temeke district (DSM), overall 34.8% tested HIV positive, including 29.9%
men and 66.7% women; overall 27.7% tested HCV antibody positive.
How are drug users seen by wider society? What problems do they face?
Drug use in the country is highly stigmatized both within the general
community and by health care workers, further marginalizing people with drug
dependence problems. Thus, this group has been denied access to basic health
services and moreover had no access to adapted service to their specific
needs. For example, women who use drugs who have been reached through MdM
harm reduction services in place since 2011 had never attended antenatal
care and the great majority had never tested for HIV the results suggests
that transactional and other sexual risk practices may account for excess
HIV prevalence among female drug users and facilitate transmission to other
populations. Factors causing poverty among the target group were expressed
as follows in the MdM study: very low level of education; drug use; stigma;
police repression; incarceration,
What services are available to drug users in Tanzania? What work are
Medicins du Monde doing?
Since 2011 there is OST and NSP in Dar es Salaam under TAPP and MdM
What do you think the legacy of this video will be? What would you like to
change about the situation surrounding drug use in Tanzania?
There are more movies being produced by PVP so it's not just about the song
but about the education to others and how the group has grown and is
registering as a CBO.
Quotes from members
1. "Now I understand why we are conducting these screenings, people need to
know what we have for them and its message". Abas Zawadi, a PVP member said
during a daytime educational facilitated training.
2. "The film is great, the film is educative, the film should be screened in
more areas, they could not believe that PVP members could produce such a
film, the film should be screened to institutions that are dealing with drug
users". Respond from the crowd. .
What do pvp want to change? The group want to reduce stigmatization against
drug users in Tanzania. We have already seen leaders transformed by
watching the movies by pvp, especially "mdudu mbaya" and the song...