Research on drug use in Zimbabwe

Key information

  • Organisation: Zimbabwe Civil Liberties Drug Network (ZCLDN)
  • Country: Zimbabwe
  • Region: Eastern and Southern Africa
  • Stage of innovation: Stage 6: In the market and ready to scale
  • Dates: 2022
  • Type of innovation: Conceptual innovation: new ways of looking at problems, challenging assumptions, or both
  • Funder: Global Fund CRG

Summary of intervention

In 2022, a collaboration between the Zimbabwe Civil Liberties Drug Network (ZCLDN) and the Dutch harm reduction organisation, Mainline, conducted a situational analysis of drug use, including injecting drug use in five provinces in Zimbabwe. The aim was to explore which drugs are commonly used and to recommend appropriate health interventions. The findings will be used to inform HIV and TB programming for people who use or inject drugs.

They identified patterns of drug use and injection, assessed the level of knowledge, attitudes and perceptions of risk and vulnerability to HIV and TB among people who use drugs, and determined barriers and facilitators of uptake of HIV and tuberculosis services among people who use drugs. They also documented existing harm reduction and drug treatment services and gaps in the national HIV and TB response and used this to develop an implementation road map to mitigate against HIV and TB for people who use drugs, including technical capacity needs and service gaps.


One of the challenges was that not all government officials understand the issues people who use drugs face and some government officials resisted engagement during the data gathering phase. While this information is useful to start designing policies and programmes for people who use drugs, more information is needed for an in-depth understanding of drug use and the tools and messages needed to improve access to health services for people who use or inject drugs.

next steps

Prior to this study, there was not a lot of data on people who use drugs in Zimbabwe. As a result of this study, people who use and inject drugs have been considered in both the Global Fund New Funding Model 3 cycle, and Country Coordinating Mechanism funding processes, as well as the PEPFAR COP23 processes in Zimbabwe.


ZCLDN need to up scale the research to five further provinces in Zimbabwe for an in depth analysis of barriers to services for people who use drugs. The hope is that domestic resource mobilisation will fund the upscaling.