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Enrolment and retention of people who inject drugs in the Needle & Syringe Exchange Programme in Malaysia

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

  • S. Chandrasekaran
  • N.T.T. Kyaw
  • Anthony Harries
  • I.A Yee
  • P. Ellan
  • T. Kurusamy
  • N. Yusoff
  • Gitau Mburu
  • W.M.Z.W. Mohammad
  • A. Suleiman
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>21/06/2017
<mark>Journal</mark>Public Health Action
Issue number2
Number of pages6
Pages (from-to)155-160
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Setting: Needle and Syringe Exchange Programme (NSEP) implemented by non-governmental organisations in Malaysia.

Objectives: To determine enrolment, characteristics and retention in the NSEP of people who inject drugs (PWID) between 2013 and 2015.

Design: Retrospective cohort study.

Results: There were 20 946 PWID, with a mean age of 38 years. The majority were male (98%) and of Malay ethnicity (92%). Follow-up data were available for 20 761 PWID. Annual retention of newly enrolled PWID for each year was respectively 85%, 87% and 78% for 2013, 2014 and 2015, although annual enrolment over these years declined from 10 724 to 6288 to 3749. Total person-years (py) of follow-up were 27 806, with loss to follow-up of 40 per 100 py. Cumulative probability of retention in NSEP was 66% at 12 months, 45% at 24 months and 26% at 36 months. Significantly higher loss to follow-up rates were observed in those aged 15–24 years or 50 years, females, transgender people and non-Malay ethnic groups.

Conclusion: Annual retention of new PWID on NSEP was impressive, although enrolment declined over the 3 years of the study and cumulative loss to follow-up was high. A better understanding of these programmatic outcomes is required.