Bringing together communities at the center of the HIV response in Kiambu County

February 27, 2020
Uncategorized
[caption id="attachment_6575" align="aligncenter" width="887"] NACC CEO Dr Nduku Kilonzo, EBS, addressing leaders from Kiambu County during a training on Sustainable Health Financing and Governance held in Naivasha.[/caption]
The National AIDS Control Council (NACC) CEO Dr Nduku Kilonzo today addressed the leadership of Kiambu county during a two-day training on Sustainable Health Financing and Governance in Naivasha organized by the NACC.
 
In her remarks, Dr Nduku noted that despite the significant progress that Kiambu county has contributed in the reduction of HIV infections in the country, there exist significant future challenges that needs to be addressed such as prevention of ill health, strengthen governance in coordinating partners and resources and integration of services that are defined by Kiambu county. She said that this can be achieved through the Local Initiatives Spread Through Enterprise Networking (LISTEN) model that brings the notion that communities take the lead in addressing their needs, putting communities at the centre to the HIV response.
 
Kiambu county is currently piloting LISTEN that seeks to achieve great impact, sustain gains made and address challenges in HIV response by providing data-driven decision making and strategically maximizing existing resources already available. The CEO said “addressing these challenges will provide opportunities in achieving the Universal Health Coverage through the LISTEN model that will safeguard the gains made in HIV response.
 
The training of Kiambu leadership is part of the LISTEN model processes that tends to enhance the county leadership and management skills for the HIV program devoted to delivering HIV services by bringing together various representatives in county leadership, promoting the focus of a collective action to strengthen health systems and expanding quality health services including HIV, leading to better and sustainable health outcomes.
 
The LISTEN model is implemented by the Georgetown University Center for Global Health Practice and Impact (CGHPI), the process (originally called the Business Process for Impact or BPI) is being piloted in Eswatini, Kenya and Malawi from 2018.
 
The leadership of Kiambu county was led by CECM Health services Mary Kamau, COH Dr David Kamundia, CDH Dr David Ndegwa, all directors in health services, health committee members from the County Assembly and health workers. The CEO’s parting short emphasis on prevention as the only cost-effective strategy and she said: “you can ignore everything in life but you cannot ignore health and investing in prevention is the only cost-effective strategy for the success of Universal Health Coverage”.

Remember February 13 – The International Condom Day!

February 12, 2020
NACC News
International Condom Day is celebrated on February 13th - a day before Valentines Day, as a way of reminding ourselves about condoms and how effective they are in preventing pregnancies and STIs, including HIV. This year’s theme is Safer Is Fun and since its inception in 2009, the day is commemorated as an effort to reduce and stop new HIV infections through safe sex practices. Since its invention and use back in 3000 BC by King Minos of Crete, condoms have been a topic of nosiness throughout history and the idea of safer sex has been explored in ancient times and used to prevent venereal diseases.  Romans used bladder of animals as condoms to protect the woman not from pregnancies but from venereal diseases until Charles Goodyear who used vulcanization – the process of transforming rubber in malleable structures – to produce latex condoms. About 1.5 million people are living with HIV in Kenya and the national prevalence is estimated to be at 4.9 per cent. The main mode of HIV transmission is through sexual contact with accounts for about 80% of all new HIV infections. According to the 2018 HIV estimates, adolescents and young people account for 40% of new HIV infections and the reasons cited for the increase include low-risk perception of HIV and changing attitudes and casual sex with multiple partners which have also led to increasing of adolescent and teenage pregnancies. The reduction of new HIV infections is the first objective in the Kenya AIDS Strategic Framework and Kenya being a member of UN member states is committed to contributing in reduction of new HIV infections to fewer than 500,000 globally.  In the effort to reduce new HIV infections, the National AIDS Control Council is distributing condoms and installing condom dispensers across the country and since October last year over 400 condom dispensers and 300,000 male condoms have been distributed in nine counties – Homa Bay, Nyandarua, Kakamega, Siaya, Mombasa, Kisii, Kisumu, Kiambu and Nairobi.  The distribution targets areas that are highly and frequently visited such as public toilets, bars and lodges.  The initiative is to promote the sufficient supply and making condoms accessible to the people who need them and when they need them. The use of condoms is cited to contribute to the reduction of HIV transmission and stopped the wider spread of HIV in places where the epidemic is concentrated. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), through a global modelling analysis, condoms are said to have averted around 50 million new HIV infections since the onset of the HIV epidemic. Currently, Kenya is finalizing its Condom Strategy Plan that will provide a national framework to guide implementation of a comprehensive condom program through advocacy and promotion, distribution and proper disposal and structured monitoring and evaluation strategies to promote the uptake and consistent use of condoms. As the world has progressively come up with major scientific advances in areas of HIV prevention apart from condoms such as biomedical interventions such as antiretroviral therapy (ART) which has substantially reduced HIV transmission. Condoms still remain central in HIV response because only when sustained viral suppression is confirmed and very closely monitored in a person living with HIV, - and when the risk of other STIs and unintended pregnancy is low, it may be safe not to use a condom. The National AIDS Control Council together with partners will be celebrating the International Condom Day in 3 counties – Kirinyaga, Homabay and Muranga with the national event being held at Kirinyaga University in Kirinyaga County starting at 8.00 a.m.   As we celebrate the International Condom Day on 13 February, let us remember that Safer is Fun, with a condom!

Homabay County benefits from a training on Sustainable Health Financing and Governance

January 28, 2020
NACC News, Uncategorized
[caption id="attachment_6513" align="aligncenter" width="827"] Homabay Governor Cyprian Awiti, his deputy governor Hamiliton Orata, Homabay County CECs members and directors together with organizers of the workshop on Sustainable Health Financing and Governance led by Ms Regina Ombam, Deputy Director HIV Investment in National AIDS Control Council that was held in Sai Rock Hotel, Mombasa.[/caption] Today marks the end of a 2-day workshop of Homabay County training on sustainable health financing and governance that brought together the top leadership of the county led by H.E Governor Cyprian Awiti, deputy governor Hamilton Orata, all county executive and some directors and county administrators including the Members of the County Assembly in Mombasa. The workshop covered issues on health governance and financing such as sustainable health financing and aims to create a paradigm shift in the health delivery process in Homabay county. [caption id="attachment_6514" align="aligncenter" width="6016"] NACC CEO Dr Nduku Kilonzo welcoming H.E. Governor Cyprian Awiti and his deputy governor Hamiliton Orata to 2-day workshop training on sustainable health financing and governance in Mombasa, Sai Rock Hotel. The workshop addressed the state of the HIV response, risk factors and domestic financing and governance.[/caption] The workshop was organised by the National AIDS Control Council through a LISTEN (Local Innovation Spread Through Enterprise Network) model, an innovative and accountability network model that focuses on Communities of Practice (CoP) using a Human Centered Design (HCD) approach to the strengthen delivery of services both Health and non-health being piloted in Homabay and Kiambu counties in Kenya. The model is being piloted in 3 countries in Africa; Kenya, Malawi and Eswatini with support Georgetown University. In his remarks, H.E Governor Awiti thanked the National AIDS Control Council and the Georgetown University for their efforts in HIV response in the County, that has changed the mindset of the people in the HIV response incorporating a multisectoral approach that looks at issues beyond HIV. He said, “Homabay county’s response to HIV is multisectoral and the more reason that he ensured all the county executives attended the workshop”. Initially known as Business Process for Impact (BPI) model and changed to LISTEN model that started to be piloted in March last year has transformed the thinking of the people in Mfangano Island and Dhiwa sub-counties of Homabay by putting communities at the centre in seeking solutions to their problems. Through ordinary grassroots gatherings of Boda Boda and fisherfolk communities that meet and discuss various issues that affect them such as security and road safety, the LISTEN model has used these avenues to plugin issues on HIV and other health issues, making them salient and feature as part of the problems that require solutions. The model has linked these communities with policymakers including county administrators and service providers as part of the process in finding solutions to their problems. The county leadership reiterated that the LISTEN model has tremendously reduced Boda Boda accidents, boosted the savings culture through banking and in health, there is an increase of linking new HIV cases to treatment, increase use of condoms uptake for HIV prevention and reduction of HIV stigma, promotion of male circumcision and family planning. National AIDS Control Council Dr Nduku Kilonzo praised Homabay County for good progress in HIV response in testing however she pointed that the number of men who are on treatment after testing is low compared to women and she challenged the county to come up with mechanisms that will encourage men to seek and adhere to treatment after testing. The LISTEN model endeavours to see the countries such as Homabay County transition to an environment which shall integrate demographic dynamics into development planning in health at the county and sub-county levels to comprehensively respond to population and development issues, including population dynamics and its implications for human rights, dignity, quality of life, poverty eradication and sustainable development leading to the achievement of Universal Health Coverage. Pro. Khama Rogo who was the keynote speaker during the workshop reiterated that health is at the centre of sustainable development goals and that health motivates everybody and challenged the counties in Kenya to approach health issues with open minds driven by innovation. The workshop comes at a time when Kenya is transiting into a lower middle-income country, a move that will progressively make the country experience a shift in healthcare funding that relies on external donor financing towards domestic funding in areas such as HIV, TB, malaria, reproductive health and vaccines which have been heavily donor-funded. The country needs to engage in designing new ways that will scale up HIV response to sustain the gains made and continue reaching global and national goals, making sure that the future generation remains AIDS-free.

Ms. Regina Ombam, the Deputy Director HIV Investments at the National AIDS Control Council has been elected the new Vice Chair of the Global Fund Technical Review Panel

December 19, 2019
NACC News
[caption id="attachment_6487" align="aligncenter" width="277"] Ms. Regina Ombam, the Deputy Director HIV Investments at the National AIDS Control Council[/caption] Ms. Regina Ombam, the Deputy Director HIV Investments at the National AIDS Control Council has been elected the new Vice Chair of the Global Fund Technical Review Panel (TRP) for the period November 2019 to November 2021. The Technical Review Panel is an independent pool of leading experts in HIV, TB, Malaria, Health Systems, Human Rights and Gender and Strategic Investments and Sustainable Financing who provide oversight during the processes of review of Country Proposals and Applications to the Global Fund and making determination on the quality of Global fund Investments positioned to achieve greatest impact in a wide variety of epidemiological and country contexts. Ms Ombam has been a member of the TRP Strategic Investments and Sustainable Financing team since 2017, based on her decade of experience in Health Systems Strengthening, Modelling, Health Policy, Planning and Financing. It is an honour for the Kenya Health sector and particularly, the Kenya National AIDS Control Council and the country at large to have Ms. Ombam in the TRP leadership.

First Lady Margaret Kenyatta lauds Kenya’s progress against the epidemic but warns of complacency

December 19, 2019
NACC News, Uncategorized
[caption id="attachment_6483" align="aligncenter" width="1280"] H.E The First Lady Margaret Kenyatta during World AIDS Day 2019 Commemoration at Gusii Stadium, Kisii County.[/caption] First Lady Margaret Kenyatta has lauded stakeholders for Kenya’s strides against HIV and AIDS. Speaking during the 31st Commemoration of World AIDS Day at Gusii Stadium in Kisii County, The First Lady however warned of complacency urging for enhanced partnerships to jointly address barriers frustrating efforts towards ending AIDS by 2030. ‘Despite the progress made in tackling HIV and AIDS, many people continue to face challenges in accessing healthcare services, which are key to eliminating the disease,’ said the First Lady. Reiterating her commitment to the fight against HIV and AIDS the First Lady acknowledged the contribution by Communities to the Response that has seen the country make major strides. Among those recognized were the faith communities that have played a major role in advancing the HIV message in different congregations. She however decried high cases of new infections among young women and urged for concerted efforts and investments to address mother to child transmissions and help Kenya attain global targets. ‘Despite the progress made in reducing mother-to-child transmission of HIV, the country is faced with new challenges of new HIV infections among adolescents and young women,’ She further said. Cabinet Secretary for Health Sicily Kariuki while speaking at the same event said Kenya has, over the last 9 years reduced her new infection by 51% overally, the greatest achievement in the three decade struggle against the epidemic. ‘Kenya has registered more than 51% reduction in new infections from 100,000 per annum in 2013 to less than 50,000 with a HIV incidence currently at 1.8 %,’ said the Cabinet Secretary. At the same event, the First Lady launched the Faith Sector Booklet; an activity that was marked across all counties in the presence of Religious Leaders. Developed by the Faith Sector Working Group with input from other religious leaders, the booklet is centred around nine thematic areas namely HIV knowledge, HIV prevention, HIV treatment, Care and support, stigma and discrimination, Universal Health Coverage, Sexual and Gender Based Violence, Male engagement, Adolescents and Young People(AYP) engagement. The booklet contains factual information and messages on HIV and AIDS and general health for congregants. Besides demystifying myths and misconceptions on HIV and AIDS, the messages shall also empower congregations on the epidemic. It targets faithfuls drawn from Christian, Islam, Hindu and Bahai communities.

The NACC CEO Dr Nduku Kilonzo conferred with the Presidential Honors of the Elder of the Burning Spear, EBS

December 19, 2019
NACC News, Uncategorized
[caption id="attachment_6472" align="aligncenter" width="737"] President Uhuru Kenyatta and Dr Nduku Kilonzo, CEO, National AIDS Control Council in the 2019 Presidential Honors of the Elder of the Burning Spear, EBS on Jamhuri day. The NACC CEO was conferred with the Presidential Honors of the Elder of the Burning Spear for contribution to HIV prevention in Kenya and globally and eMTCT through Beyond Zero[/caption] The year 2019 is ending with blessings at the National AIDS Control Council (NACC) as the NACC CEO Dr Nduku Kilonzo was  bestowed with the Presidential Honors of the Elder of the Burning Spear, EBS on Jamhuru Day. The honors was conferred for contribution to HIV prevention in Kenya and globally and eMTCT through Beyond Zero. Kenya has generally registered significant progress in the HIV response.  The 2018 Kenya AIDS Response Progress Report shows that the country demonstrated the return on investments in the HIV response in terms of reduced new infections, HIV related co-morbidities and deaths over the last 5 years with approximately 50% reduction of new infections among adults. Also, the country reduced mother to child transmission of HIV from 14% to 11% among HIV positive pregnant women. The CEO said the award is a reflection of the collective work and effort of everyone in the Council – those who serve this beautiful country.  She quoted from the great world marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge saying “there is a formula; 100% of me is nothing compared to 1% of the whole team.  And that’s teamwork…That’s what I value… this statement by our great country man espouses my acknowledgment to you all and honor at being part of and leading the National AIDS Control Council team”.  

World AIDS Day 2019 – TOWARDS UHC: COMMUNITIES UNITED FOR A HIV FREE GENERATION

November 5, 2019
Uncategorized

World AIDS Day 2019

TOWARDS UHC: COMMUNITIES UNITED FOR A HIV FREE GENERATION

The global theme of this year’s World AIDS Day is “communities make the difference” and the national theme in Kenya that is adopted from the global theme is "Towards UHC: Communities united for a HIV free generation". The Commemoration of World AIDS Day will take place on 1 December 2019 and this is the time when the people around the world unite to show support for people living with HIV and to remember those who have died from AIDS-related illness. This year’s theme recognizes communities because their contribution to AIDS response in many ways.   The 2019 World AIDS Day commemoration aims to create awareness on the role of communities in HIV response at a time when reduced funding and a shrinking space for civil society are putting the sustainability of HIV services and advocacy efforts in jeopardy. The theme underscores communities’ contribution to the HIV and AIDS response in many different ways; through leadership and advocacy that ensures the response remains relevant and grounded, keeping people at the center of the response and ensuring that no one is left behind.   Communities include Peer Educators, Networks of People living with or affected by HIV, Women, Men, Young People, Children, Households, Key and Priority populations, Counsellors, Community Health Workers, Civil Society Organizations, Grass-roots activists and the Faith Community. The strong advocacy role played by communities is needed more than ever to ensure that HIV and AIDS remains on the political agenda, human rights of People Living with HIV (PLHIV) are respected and that decision-makers and implementers are held accountable (UNAIDS, 2019). The objectives of World AIDS Day in Kenya is to demonstrate the role of communities in HIV prevention, treatment and care services, leverage on WAD to promote the UHC agenda through provision of wellness services and to provide an opportunity for interaction and communication between the community, policy-makers, National and County Leaders. Prelude to the commemoration of the World AIDS Day on Sunday, 1 December 2019, vast campaigns revolving around HIV advocacy, testing & referral and wellness services in various counties will be scaled up. World AIDS Day will be commemorated in all 47 counties with the national even being celebrated in Kisii County at Gusii Stadium. Click here to see the venues in Counties where World AIDS Day 2019 will be commemorated.

New Guidelines to Mainstream Health and HIV in Infrastructure projects adopted

September 25, 2019
NACC News
Kenya has continued to heavily invest in mega infrastructure projects to spur economic growth in the various sectors including Transport, Water and Sanitation, Energy and Housing. The development projects have variedly impacted the health status of the beneficiaries within localities where they are undertaken. Further, Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) studies on projects have shown a huge impact on different health indicators including HIV and AIDS which legally should be factored in the project during the project design, implementation and overall monitoring. There has, however, been no legal and policy framework to safeguard the health and HIV interests. It is against this back drop that the National AIDS Control Council through the department for HIV Investments led in the development of Guidelines for Mainstreaming Health and HIV interventions in Infrastructure Development Projects. The development process was through collaboration with state agencies undertaking infrastructure projects and the private sector. They include Kenya Airport Authority, State Department for Transport, African Development Bank, National Construction Authority, Energy Regulatory Commission, U.S Presidents Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, International Labour Organization and Kenya National Urban Authority. The guidelines provide a mechanism for state agencies and the private sector in addressing Health and AIDS related issues during the implementation of the mega projects. According to the studies, implementation of projects often increases income among workers, increases migration among the community, besides increasing sexual activities which often leads to a rise in new HIV infections. In line with the principle of public participation the NACC led stakeholders in the validation of the guidelines to promote ownership among critical stakeholders drawn from different sectors undertaking the implementation of Government projects. Validation of the Guidelines heralds a new chapter in the push for a sustainable financing for the HIV response. It’s envisaged that Project designers and developers will mainstream health and AIDS related issues in the entire project cycle in order to address emerging challenges. NACCs Deputy Director HIV Investments, Regina Ombam said, ‘’With the adoption of these guidelines and eventual roll out we envisage a reduction in prevalence, reduced HIV infections and improved health outcomes of the project beneficiaries along the infrastructure development corridor.”

Increased demand for HIV testing services characterize the on-going activations in Technical Colleges

June 13, 2019
NACC News
The on-going activations in Technical colleges spearheaded by Communication Division in conjunction with the Ministry of Education, Department of Vocational and Technical Training has been characterized by unprecedented increase in HIV testing services. The overwhelming demand for testing services and information clearly demonstrates that efforts geared towards reducing stigma perhaps are paying off especially among young people and adolescents. Through the Communication Division the NACC is engaging students of four national polytechnics namely Kisumu, Sigalagala, Eldoret and Meru in phase one of the national sensitization programme. Tertiary institutions present a unique niche that has not been adequately covered with HIV programmes as the focus has mainly been on universities. The TVET institutions have also proved to be good ground based on their large populations, with institutions such as The Eldoret Polytechnic catering to over 15,000 students. The sensitization cum advocacy programme seeks to empower students on the HIV response following startling statistics in the Kenya AIDS Response Progress Report of 2018 showing high infection rates among young people. The report cites stigma and ignorance as the main cause of new infections among this cohort. The one on one engagement has proven to be an effective way in demystifying myths and misconceptions on HIV among students. This is being complemented by exhibitions and distribution of Youth Friendly information materials to students geared towards enhancing knowledge and empowering the students.

The 5th Biennial Maisha HIV and AIDS Conference gives insights to HIV Response and UHC

June 13, 2019
NACC News
The recently concluded Fifth Maisha HIV and AIDS Conference organized by the National AIDS Control Council and partners brought to the fore interesting insights in the implementation of Universal Health Coverage and ending HIV by 2030. Under the theme ‘Leveraging the HIV Response to Accelerate Impact for Universal Health Coverage’ the conference provided a platform for engagement with a focus on how to accelerate HIV prevention and the attainment of treatment targets, identifying opportunities and critical drivers for the HIV response that can be used to accelerate Universal Health Coverage targets.   Attracting approximately 850 participants from 35 countries around the globe, this year’s conference, which had been preceded by six pre-conference meetings, was lauded as the most successful. Delegates were drawn from Government institutions, Research institutions, Policy Makers, Civil society, Academia and Community of People Living with HIV and AIDS. Among the notable participants and presenters included  renowned Researcher Prof. Mark Dybul of the Center for Global Health and Practice for Impact – Georgetown University, Catherine Sozi, Regional Director for UNAIDS Regional Support Team for Eastern Africa, and Directors of National AIDS Commissions from member of The Global AIDS Coalition. A total of 17 panel sessions were held during the conference, including “The Status of HIV Research: Vaccine or Cure?”, “Emerging Prevention and Treatment Technologies: What is the Future?” “Sustainable Financing for HIV in the Context of UHC” as well as a session on “HIV, Sex, Drugs and Young People” which drew high numbers. These affirmed the HIV situation in Kenya, with the country leading research around the HIV vaccine and other prevention interventions, conversations on domestic financing taking the forefront, and the country’s alignment to the global agenda that puts the interests of young people in every aspect of HIV and AIDS Response. Lauding the conference, Cabinet Secretary for Health Sicily Kariuki noted that reflections of the two day meeting in Nairobi would inform implementation of Universal Health Coverage under the Governments Big 4 Agenda. ‘I must commend the choice of this year’s theme, Leveraging the HIV Response to Accelerate Impact for UHC.” While UHC is increasingly a global goal, Kenya’s commitment is based on the realization of the potential to return huge health dividends for the country because of the focus on community health, preventive health and investments in health systems. It is this focus, common purpose and pulling together that the UHC agenda can draw lessons from,’’ said the CS. Important Quotes: ‘Although we boast of registering impressive results against the epidemic, challenges abound. Eastern Africa region is one of the highly burdened with HIV and AIDS. New infections particularly among young people are quite disturbing. AIDS related deaths remain high. Even as we end this meeting we need to ask ourselves difficult questions and have a candid reflection on these issues as custodian and implementers of policies and programs.’ NACC Chairperson Ms. Angeline Siparo “The two day meeting has taught us many lessons, highlighted challenges and provided solutions which will go a long way in guiding our response efforts at this critical time as we enter the final stretch of ending the epidemic. I am certain we are better equipped with necessary requisites to apply in our different jurisdictions against HIV.”-NACC C.E.O Dr. Nduku Kilonzo The Maisha HIV and AIDS Conference culminated with a call for participants to shift from Evidenced based programs to systematic data driven segmentation & targeting of programs; move from resource mobilization around donor financing to more structured diversified resource partnerships & domestic financing; from coordinating multi-sectoral response to addressing challenges with stewardship on effective leadership; and to move from Governmental accountability to mutual accountability that ensures meaningful community engagements & inclusive governance.