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A journey of revival: From being completely lost to owning a farm

A journey of revival: From being completely lost to owning a farm

“I was completely lost. My daily routine was totally dif­ferent from those of other human beings. I used to sleep all day, wake up in the evening and remain awake for the whole night. I completely lost my focus,” says Mohamed Ahmad Hazaa (29) as he narrates his past as a drug abuser.

Drugs made him drop out of college. He began taking alcohol and smoking marijuana when he was in secondary school. When he went to Uganda for high school education, he met a drug peddler who introduced him to heroin. He tried, liked it and became addicted.

Mohamed tried to quit drugs by checking into sober houses, but to no avail. He lives within a stone’s throw from Sekou Toure Hospital in Mwanza City.  He saw some of his friends attending the Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) clinic at the hospital, and he too he decided to visit the facility on May 11, 2018. He read a brochure detailing the side effects of drug abuse and made up his mind that he had to kick the habit. He was put on methadone on May 14, 2018, and has since not gone back to heroin.

Mohamed has changed and now sleeps at night and takes care of his 430 chickens in addition to being involved in other productive activities.  He calls himself a community environmental activist and is also chairman of his peers at the MAT.

“I would like to advise my fellow youth and the community at large not to give up since life must go on. Those who use drugs should visit the clinic where they will receive treatment. Methadone really helps.  I can attest to this fact. Parents should support their children who have been affected since this is a problem that should be dealt collectively instead of being left to individuals,” says Mohamed.

Mohamed’s mother, Farida Abdallah, is glad that her son has finally overcome his heroin addiction. Mohamed now wants to write a proposal to enable MAT clinic beneficiaries at Sekou Toure Hospital employ themselves by rearing chickens and fish.

Mohamed is one of 297 MAT clinic benefi­ciaries at Sekou Toure Hospital, where AGPAHI – with the support of the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the Center for Disease Control (CDC) – promotes positive health seeking behavior among people who inject drugs in Mwanza.