The goal of the parliamentary caucus against drug addiction is to provide legislative recommendations that would lessen the negative consequences of drug misuse in Kenya.
Amnesty for drug users is one of these ideas, which aims to replace the existing strategy of criminalization and incarceration.
Lawmakers stressed the need for a paradigm change in a meeting with Sooroojdev Phokeer, the Speaker of the National Assembly of Mauritius, and representatives of Kenya’s departmental committee on health, in addition to the Parliamentary caucuses against drug misuse.
The Buuri MPs, under the direction of Rindikiri Mugambi, set out on an experimental learning tour to Mauritius to address the devastation that drug usage causes in their nation.
“We’re here to learn about harm reduction, inspired by Mauritius’ robust approach to dealing with drug addiction–a major issue in our country that demands local and international measures,” stated Mugambi.
They emphasized the necessity of expanding choices for the thousands of juvenile offenders serving drug-related sentences in Kenyan jails.
Mugambi stated that the goal was to provide Kenyan lawmakers with knowledge on harm reduction initiatives so that laws might be developed to address drug misuse in the country.
He praised the extensive help and well-coordinated harm reduction mechanism Mauritius’ Ministry of Health and Wellness provided.
The parliamentarians emphasized how important it is for Kenya and Mauritius to work together and urged both nations to increase parliamentary cooperation.
MP Duncan Mathenge of Nyeri Town drew attention to the parallels between the two countries as coastal areas on the Indian Ocean, which are well-known as worldwide conduits for drug trafficking.
He commended Mauritius for its approaches to lawmaking, aviation security, and drug harm reduction.
In contrast to Kenya, Mauritius provides substantial funding for rehabilitation, viewing drug usage as a long-term mental health issue. Their strategy, which involves setting aside money for treatment, differs significantly from Kenya’s highly commercialized addiction recovery programs.” Mathenge mentioned.
He underlined the significance of expanding access to addiction recovery treatments throughout Kenya, following Mauritius’ lead in public basic healthcare facilities.
James Nyikal, a Seme MP, shared the viewpoint and emphasized the need for frameworks and policies to address the challenges both countries face in the fight against drug consumption.
Dr. Nyikal, who views addiction as a chronic brain ailment, commended the institutional frameworks and laws put in place by the health ministry of Mauritius.
Dr. James said that to promote comprehensive health structures, legal frameworks must be integrated. “We must implement similar structures and frameworks in Kenya,” she emphasized.
Hon. Martin Wanyonyi Pepela, the Member of Parliament for Webuye East, emphasized Kenya’s capacity to meet development objectives without heavily depending on external funds. He mentioned Mauritius’s achievements in offering government-funded healthcare that is sustainable, free, and easily accessible.
Speaker Phokeer acknowledged the global crisis of drug usage and underlined the need to combat it. He stressed that Kenya and Mauritius will be able to share best practices and policies in drug usage harm reduction during the benchmarking tour.
Representatives from the National Syndemic Diseases Control Council, the Ministry of Health, and the United Nations Mission in Kenya joined the Kenyan MPs on this insightful tour to Mauritius—the Presidential Communication Service.