Factors That Hinder Addiction Treatment Among Women Who Inject Drugs (Wwids
Injection drug use at the Kenyan coast is posing a great danger to the communities and the country at large due to the risks involved and rising number of youth affected in their most productive age. This study sought to examine factors that hinder women who inject drugs from accessing treatment in Malindi Sub County of Kilifi County in the Republic of Kenya. The study was guided by the following objectives: To establish if there are support mechanisms that exist for WWIDs, to identify if there are personal and community based factors that hinder access to treatment for WWIDs in Kilifi County and to determine if there are gaps in existing structures and support mechanisms that discourage WWIDs from accessing treatment in Kilifi County. A semi-structured questionnaire was administered to a sample of 60 respondents. A response rate of 83.3% was achieved. Interview schedules were distributed to 10 key informants. A response rate of 70% was achieved. Qualitative data results are presented in narrative form while quantitative data results have been presented in charts and tables. Data from the research showed that treatment centres and support structures for injecting drug users in Kilifi County are not gender based. There also exist personal and community based factors that hinder women who inject drugs from accessing treatment. These include lack of finances, discrimination, victimization and lack of legitimate sources of income. The study showed that other than socio cultural and personal barriers there also exist systemic barriers in addressing drug use problem. Although several WWIDs are aware of treatment facilities and enroll for treatment, the retention and completion rates are low. This can be attributed to several factors including absence of appropriate gender based and affordable treatment models, judgement and stigma. The study recommends that treatment programs in addition to pharmacotherapy and counseling adopt a holistic and comprehensive approach that addresses the most important areas of the lives of WWIDs which include employment, safety and acceptance. Interventions for women who inject drugs should also be long term and comprehensive. The interventions should not only focus on the WWIDs abandoning drugs but also the environment and behavior that puts them at risk.
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