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A Beauty Parlour Making a Difference in Mombasa

Housed in the Reachout Centre Trust, a Kenyan organisation that helps Mombasa residents to fight drug addiction, the parlour opened last year with the aim of attracting more female users to its services, which include HIV testing, counselling, methadone treatment and cervical cancer screening. Africa has become an attractive drug transit route. Historically, most of the heroin trafficked to the west from Afghanistan came overland via the “Balkan route”. But after conflict and increased security made this path trickier to navigate, according to a report by the GIATO, smugglers took to the seas. Since 2010 the “southern route” – also known as the “smack track” – has grown in popularity; heroin is trafficked from Afghanistan via the Indian Ocean into east and South Africa. From there it makes its way to Europe, Asia and North America. As more heroin has washed into east Africa, more people have become hooked. While research on female drug addicts in Kenya is limited, studies have indicated that women enrolled in gender-specific treatment programmes have better outcomes and improvement than those who are not