First Lady embarks on implementation of 2nd Strategic Plan as she flags off Medical Safari

First Lay Margaret Kenyatta (2nd Left) and Health CS Sicily Kariuki (Right) during the launch of Free Medical Safari in Narok County.

H.E The First Lady Margaret Kenyatta has embarked on the implementation of her Beyond Zero Second Strategic Framework that focuses on the promotion of healthy lives and wellbeing of women, children and adolescents. The inaugural Beyond Zero Medical Safari that was held on September 12 and flagged off by the First Lady in Narok County heralds a new chapter in health service delivery in the country. It is a platform that provides integrated health services to people including enrollment to the National Hospital Insurance Fund, a critical step towards the attainment of Universal Health Coverage under the Governments Big 4 Agenda.

The First Lady said under the principle of leaving no one behind, the Beyond Zero Medical Safaris seek to enhance integrated health service delivery to all Kenyans that will significantly contribute to Universal Health Coverage. “We have committed to leave no one behind. We have committed to remain responsive to critical challenges by offering integrated specialized services to all groups in our life-cycle – pregnant mothers and their babies, adolescents and young people, adult women and men and elderly persons,” said the First Lady.

The First Lady also launched Narok County eMTCT of HIV and Syphilis Plan. The plan is a timely initiative to create momentum in fast-tracking Kenya’s validation of Elimination of Mother to Child Transmission by 2021.

Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki who also spoke at the event said the Beyond Zero Medical Safari provides an interesting platform to leverage on in provision of health services in line with the Governments Agenda on Universal Health Coverage.

The Beyond Zero Medical Safari in conjunction with County Governments and other partners will cover Bungoma, West Pokot, Kwale, Marsabit/Wajir, Nairobi/Machakos and Kisumu before scaling up to cover all counties across the country.

The First Lady’s initiative comes on the heels of a Forum on China–Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Beijing China where African First Ladies under the Organization for African First Ladies (OAFLA) met Chinese First Lady Peng Liyuan and re-affirmed their commitment to spearhead the fight against HIV and AIDS on the continent. Informed by startling HIV statistics in Africa, a continent that accounts for two thirds of total global new infections, African First Ladies committed to champion the fight against HIV especially among young people on the continent. According to UNAIDS, there are around 3.9 million young people between the ages of 15 and 24 years living with HIV globally. About 1,600 young people acquire HIV every day and a young person dies every 10 minutes from an AIDS-related illness.

First Lady Margaret Kenyatta who made a statement on behalf of the East Africa region called on African States to invest more in the fight against HIV and AIDS to halt high new infections especially among young people. This she said is critical in securing an AIDS free generation. The meeting saw the launch of a three year China-Africa Advocacy campaign. The partnership seeks to promote Sexual and Reproductive health programs and uptake of HIV and AIDS services by young people across the continent.

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NACC Hosts Zimbabwe delegation on a bench marking mission.

A visit by Zimbabwean delegation is the latest in a series of high level visits to Kenya by African countries on a learning mission about her HIV Programming. The NACC hosted the delegation that was in the country to learn on Kenya’s HIV programs and strategies against HIV and AIDS.

It comes on the heels of high level visits by Senegalese and Zambian delegations that were in the country on a similar mission with particular interest in the Kenya HIV situation room. Kenya is the first country to adopt the HIV Situation room, a platform that tracks HIV information for decision making and planning purposes and has thus been providing technical support to her peers. Several African countries including Zambia, Uganda, Namibia and Lesotho have since set up their country HIV Situation rooms as they seek to enhance their AIDS response with the use of good quality data.

In an apparent admission, the head of Zimbabwe delegation Mr. Hezbon Chamisa said the visit was prompted by Kenya’s dominant show during the 2018 International AIDS Conference. While appreciating the multi-sectoral approach in the fight against HIV in Kenya, Mr. Chamisa who is also the Head of Monitoring and Evaluation of Zimbabwe AIDS Control Council noted that the country’s HIV Programming provided interesting and insightful strategies that shall inform the Zimbabwe’s future HIV response. He also noted that the adoption of -Human rights approach in Key Population programming was a game changing strategy in the fight against HIV.

NACC Deputy Director, Support Coordination Dr. Emmy Chesire who spoke at the meeting noted that the country’s stride against HIV and AIDS is as a result of concerted efforts by stakeholders and implementation of impactful programs.

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Relative peace, ignorance and poverty behind new infections in West Pokot: Prof. Lonyangapuo

West Pokot Governor Prof. John Lonyangapuo (Right) when he hosted NACC officials and KTN Crew at in his office at Kapenguria town.

West-Pokot Governor Prof. John Lonyangapuo has decried an upsurge of new infections in the county due to relative stability. The Governor spoke in his office when he hosted officials from the National AIDS Control Council and KTN who had paid him a courtesy call while on a mission to highlight factors fueling new HIV infections in the county.

The expansive county has enjoyed relative stability in recent times, a factor the Governor attributes to rising cases of new infections. “The truce with Turkanas and stability along Uganda border means people move freely. The influx of people means many things including intermarriages in a county with low levels of comprehensive HIV knowledge coupled with lack of HIV services, which have exposed residents to the pandemic,” Prof. Lonyangapuo said.

The Governor however says his Government will leverage on the peace building path to reach out to communities with HIV and AIDS messages. This includes community involvement to compliment other interventions by the National Government and partners working in the county under the rallying call of ‘leaving no one behind’. This he says seeks to empower people on HIV and AIDS. “I will also ask partners to support this initiative as we step up efforts to address increasing cases of new HIV infections in the county,” he added.

Latest statistics shows that about 6,012 people lived with HIV in West Pokot County yielding 1.6% prevalence by the end of 2017. Women have a higher prevalence (2.2%) than men (1.3%) in West Pokot County.

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Calls to tackle stigma, structural barriers dominate during HIV Prevention Conference.

The just concluded 2018 Scientific Conference on HIV Prevention and Treatment by NASCOP in Nairobi brought together stakeholders involved in the fight against HIV and AIDS to deliberate on issues around HIV prevention and Treatment programmes in the country. Under the theme ‘Turning the tide; preventing new HIV infections and optimizing treatment outcomes” the conference sought to position the country on the right path to the realization of global targets and eventual eradication of the AIDS pandemic by 2030. It took place days after the country adopted the new Guidelines on Use of Anti retroviral Drugs for Treating and Preventing HIV that set in new impetus towards the attainment of 90:90:90 targets.

It was observed during the conference that although Kenya is among countries in the region making major strides towards global targets, stigma and other socio-economic barriers fuelling new infections particularly among Adolescents and Young People may jeopardize the gains if not addressed promptly.

The meeting also called for the need to fast-track implementation of programs including scaling up of ART Program to avert new infections. These include investment in condom use advocacy, a cost effective preventive measure, as well as the use of innovative youth friendly strategies to reach Adolescents and Young People with HIV and AIDS messages.

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Upcoming events

  1. The Launch of Kenya AIDS Response Progress Report, The 2018 HIV Estimates and 2018 County HIV Profiles-The documents developed using scientifically proven projection model provides latest HIV and AIDS data at both national and county level. The KARP and Estimates report form part of the Kenya report to the UNAIDS. Date and venue will be communicated later.
  2. 1St Siaya County Annual Health Scientific Conference-18th -20th September at Jaramogi Oginga University Bondo. The NACC CEO Dr.Nduku Kilonzo will address the meeting on Wednesday 19th September 2018. NACC is also exhibiting at the conference as part of the wider strategic partnership to provide HIV and AIDS information

 

 

 

 

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