Stakeholders in the health sector have been challenged to consider harm reduction as a key guide in driving public health strategies in Africa. Harm reduction refers to interventions aimed at reducing the negative effects of health behaviours without necessarily extinguishing the problematic health behaviours entirely or permanently.
Speaking during the third annual Harm Reduction Exchange themed: ‘Amplifying the voice of Harm Reduction advocacy across Africa’, the president of the African Medical Association and the Association of Medical Councils of Africa Dr. Kgosi Letlape challenged African governments to adopt harm reduction approaches when regulating public health challenges.
“Harm reduction is a practical and transformative approach that incorporates community-driven public health strategies including prevention, risk reduction, and health promotion to empower people who use drugs and their families with the choice to live healthy and self-directed,” Dr. Kgosi said.
Harm reduction, he said, is a more transformative strategy than prohibition-based policies and is better than simply advocating for complete abstinence,he said Harm reduction is a better approach to reducing tobacco-related death and disease.