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Ministers oppose move to give addicts needles

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Denzel Musumba

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Two ministers have rejected a plan to distribute needles and syringes to drug addicts to check the spread of HIV and Aids.Environment  minister Chirau Mwakwere and Medical Services assistant minister Kambi Kazungu Wednesday said coastal leaders will physically block distributors of such needles and syringes.The two distanced the government with the intended plan to distribute needles to an estimated 46,000 people addicted to drugs in a move aimed at reducing new HIV infections.Mr Kambi, the MP for Kaloleni, said he would investigate allegations that such a directive may have come from his Ministry.The assistant minister and Mr Mwakwere, the Matuga MP, accused those behind the plans as also being behind the sale of drugs that has reduced a sizeable number of youth from the region to vegetables.The two were responding to reports that the government has purchased eight million needles and syringes to be distributed to people addicted to drugs in Nairobi and Mombasa.The President appointed us to the Health Ministry so that we can make sure the health of Kenyans is taken care of.  That is why I am quick to dissociate the government from this suspicious and uncalled for move. It cannot be party to such," said Mr Kazungu.The Coast Provincial Director of Public Health and Sanitation Anisa Omar was quoted as saying the distribution is expected to begin in Nairobi and Mombasa this week.The distribution, the officer announced, would be coordinated by the  Public Works Ministry through NGOs with the first phase running for a year.Ms Anisa said the need for the government and NGOs to work together to address what she described as alarming number of new HIV infections associated with needle sharing by the drug addicts.

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