Chinese intelligent box to rescue Kenya heroin addicts

African delegates present Masai gifts to Chinese officials. Right: The methadone intelligent box © Charlie Baran

By Gatonye Gathura

Kenya recently led an East African delegation to China to benchmark a ‘smart box’ technology which could allow heroin addicts treat themselves with methadone at home.

The group led by Deputy Governor of Lamu County in Kenya, Abdul Hakim Bwana visited Yunnan Province of China last month to understudy the box.

With support from Global Fund, Kenya and several African countries have introduced methadone treatment for what HIV activists say are increasing drug injectors in the region.

In this treatment a heroin addict, for example takes a daily dose of methadone which reduces their withdrawal symptoms and cravings for illegal drugs.

The treatment is typically administered to patients in a medical setup requiring a daily visit to the clinic.

The daily trip to a clinic, project managers say can be a barrier for many people trying to kick a heroin addiction by limiting patient compliance.

In a report appearing in the current issue of the Global Fund Observer, China has developed a technology that would allow patients take home the medication.

Called Intelligent Medicines Chest (IMC) it allows patients to take home the medication but has strong electronic safeguards against misuse. This could be the next export from China to Africa.


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