National AIDS Control Council Celebrate unsung Heroes who counter disease stigma

National AIDS Control Council Celebrate unsung Heroes who counter disease stigma

In October 1952, six prominent Kenyan campaigners were arrested by British rulers for their clamor for an independent Kenya. Between 1952 and 1958 when Kenya experienced the most prolonged State of Emergency declared by colonialists. These events led to a day set aside to commemorate those directly involved in the struggle for independence. The 2021 edition of Mashujaa Day, hosted in Kirinyaga County, is marked within a progressively expanded scope to include post-independence heroes and aligned with the spirit of devolution…. CLICK TO READ MORE

STATEMENT BY CEO OF THE NATIONAL AIDS CONTROL COUNCIL ON INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2021

STATEMENT BY CEO OF THE NATIONAL AIDS CONTROL COUNCIL ON INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2021

Dr. Ruth Laibon-Masha
Chief Executive Officer, National AIDS Control Council

Today is yet another time to celebrate women across the world – Happy International Women’s Day!

International Women’s Day is a day to celebrate womanhood. It is a day to reflect on progress made towards gender parity, to call for change and to celebrate the strides made by women across the world. Through this year’s celebration, we get to acknowledge and appreciate the women world over, who have played exemplary leadership roles in the wake of COVID-19.

The last decade has seen a significant decline in HIV and AIDS prevalence among the general population in Kenya. Kenya stands at a prevalence of 4.5%, down from 5.9% five years ago. New infections are currently at 34,610 nationally, down from 77,648 five years ago. Women have benefited in terms of HIV testing, access to antiretroviral medication, as well as improved maternal and child health, through elimination of mother to child transmission. We however still have a long way to go in attaining our goal to end AIDS by 2030.

New infections especially among young women and girls remain unacceptably high. Social challenges that affect women’s access and rights to health and HIV services abound. We still need to promote women’s participation in decision making at all levels. It is incumbent on us, primarily health policy makers and practitioners, to work together in ensuring equal health opportunities and outcomes for women and girls.

I therefore celebrate women who continue to exert themselves to ensure healthcare in Kenya, and specifically the HIV Response, is where it is today. Women who remain committed to seeing that other women do not bear discrimination because they are living with HIV. Those that continue to care for their loved ones and others in community, infected or affected by HIV.  Those that continue to advocate for changes in policy and in practice. Those that provide the much needed enabling environment to facilitate our programmes. Those that provide the requisite leadership, direction, and technical backstopping to move us closer to attaining our HIV targets.

As we celebrate women today, the world’s attention needs to urgently focus on solutions to the complex nature of all inequalities women face in light of the HIV and AIDS epidemic. We must develop and implement policies that will protect the rights of women and grant them equal access to not just health but also education, job opportunities, leadership positions, and overall, active and meaningful participation in our society. Locally, we must explore opportunities to leverage on the experience and expertise of the HIV response towards COVID-19 management; providing equity in leadership, focused responsibility and stewardship of resources, as well as inclusive community action towards affordable health.  Women must be at the centre. It can be done.

Dr. Ruth Laibon-Masha, Chief Executive Officer, National AIDS Control Council | March 8, 2021

 

STATEMENT BY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NATIONAL AIDS CONTROL COUNCIL ON INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2021

STATEMENT BY CHAIRPERSON OF THE NATIONAL AIDS CONTROL COUNCIL ON INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2021

Ms. Angeline Yiamiton Siparo, Chairperson, National AIDS Control Council

I celebrate all women and girls on this special day- Happy International Women’s Day!

This year’s theme, “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world” seeks to celebrate the strides women continue to make as we grapple the COVID-19 pandemic. Indeed, women remain on the frontlines of the pandemic as healthcare workers, caregivers, mobilizers at national and community level- they continue to make a mark.

It is these same efforts we choose to acknowledge and celebrate in the HIV Response. Over the past three decades we have made huge strides in our HIV programmes, which has translated into longer, healthier lives for women. Indeed, we have seen marked growth in our efforts towards bridging the gap that has consistently predisposed women and girls to higher risks in contracting HIV.

We however recognize that we still have work to do if we are to reduce new infections among young people, especially girls, as well as transmission of HIV from mothers to their newborns.

During this COVID-19 crisis, we have seen an upsurge in teenage pregnancies across counties in Kenya. This is a proxy indicator of new HIV infections. Whether these are from sexual abuse and other forms of exploitation or age-inappropriate exposure to sexual information, we need to take notice. It is critical for us as health policy makers and practitioners to be decisive in ensuring that women and girls are protected while at home. Protecting our young women and girls will go a long way to ensure they remain HIV negative and will also safeguard efforts and investments in eliminating Mother to Child Transmission of HIV.

We take cognizance of the structural barriers we continue to grapple with, as we fight retrogressive practices such as Female Genital Mutilation and early marriages, which further expose our young women to new HIV infections. Gender based violence continues to stare us in our faces, especially in the recent times. We cannot ignore inequality that continues to have negative effects on women and girls’ access to education and leadership opportunities. Leadership opportunities for young women in school and within work spaces are key to women’s decisions on overall health for themselves and of their children.

Women leaders through various institutions at national and county level have however continued to demonstrate their commitment to fighting new infections amongst our women and girls. They have continued to stand for those living with HIV. These women leaders have remained steadfast despite the challenges they have faced with stigma and discrimination, inequality, financial inadequacies and other barriers. They have risen to fight for safer and inclusive spaces for our women and girls especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. I celebrate you all – women opinion leaders, policy makers at both national and county level, health professionals, community representative and all others who continue to contribute towards ending AIDS by 2030. It is through your collective action that we can accelerate progress towards attainment of this goal.

On this International Women’s Day, I urge us to rally together and fight for our women. Let us embrace dignity, equity and inclusiveness in all our programmes, which are critical if we are to transform this nation. Let their voices be heard; let their faces be seen. Let us allow girls and young women to walk boldly towards their dreams and visions. We can make it happen!

Ms. Angeline Yiamiton Siparo, Chairperson, National AIDS Control Council | March 8, 2021

Safer if Fun as Kenya prepares to commemorate the International Condom Day on February 13, 2021

As the world is set to commemorate the International Condom Day on February 13, it is estimated that every year, more than one million people acquire sexually transmitted infection (STIs) and estimated 80 million unintended pregnancies globally.

The National AIDS Control Council will lead the county to commemorate the International Condom Day (ICD) on February 13th – a day before Valentines Day themed Safer is Fun, reminding us about condoms, how effective they are in preventing unwanted pregnancies and STIs including HIV.  Condoms are proven to be 98% effective in preventing STIs and HIV.

According to the Kenya AIDS Strategic Framework 2020/21-2024/25, about 1.5 million people are living with HIV in Kenya and the main mode of HIV transmission in the country is through sexual contact and accounts for 80% of all new HIV infections.  Adolescents and Young people aged 15-29 years account for 61% of adult new HIV infections.

Kenya is committed to reduce new HIV infections and is focusing on prioritized populations in areas where there is concentrated epidemic and mixed epidemic typologies. Lack of use of condom is attributed to higher HIV prevalence in these priority populations that include Adolescents and Young People, Key populations, people in discordant sexual partnerships and those in vulnerable populations such as the internally displaced persons, long distance trackers and people living with disabilities.

Proper use of condoms is proven to contribute in reduction of HIV transmission and has stopped the wider spread of HIV in places where the epidemic is concentrated.  The global modelling analysis from the World Health Organisation (WHO) indicate that condoms use has averted around 50 million new HIV infections since the onset of the HIV epidemic. The National AIDS Control Council is about to launch the Condom Strategy Plan.  The strategy 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.

The invention of condoms can be traced 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. Today, condoms still act as a barrier to STIs including HIV infections by preventing bodily fluids such as semen and vaginal fluid that can contain HIV.

Join the National AIDS Control Council and partners as we will be celebrating the International Condom Day in 5 counties – Makueni, Garissa, Homabay and Kiambu with the national event being held in Taita-Taveta County.

As we celebrate the International Condom Day on 13 February, let us remember that Safer is Fun, with a condom!  Happy Valentine Day!

FAST FACTS ON REDUCING CONDOM FAILURE

To minimize the risk of condom failure and maximize the effectiveness of condoms, correct use includes:

  • Finding an external condom with the right fit and feel (not too small or large).
  • Storing condoms at room temperature and regularly replacing condoms that are kept in a wallet, purse or pocket.
  • Checking the expiry date and discarding expired condoms.
  • Making sure the packaging is not damaged, and carefully opening the package without using sharp objects.
  • Using a new condom for every act of sex.
  • Using a new condom with every sex partner.
  • Using a condom for the entire act of sex, from start to finish.
  • Putting the condom on and taking it off correctly.

 

NACC Board Awards the first Excellence Award

The NACC board has awarded Esther Wekesa the with the first Excellence Award.  This is as a result of her notable spirit of excellence, efficiency and the ability to work under pressure.  Esther Wekesa is a staff member in the CEOs office.

 

 

ABOUT WORLDS AIDS DAY 2020

ABOUT WORLD AIDS DAY 2020

KOMESHA HIV & COVID 19

 #Tuwajibike”

Kenya will join the rest of the world on December 1st to commemorate World AIDS Day. This is the day that is set aside for partners globally to unite, renew commitment and show support for People Living with HIV and AIDS as well as remember those who have died from AIDS related illness.

Partners and stakeholders are expected to join hands under the national theme ‘Komesha HIV na COVID-19’ #Tuwajibike’ to support the Governments efforts towards preventing the spread of HIV and COVID-19. The National theme was derived from the 2020 World AIDS Day Global theme; “Global Solidarity, Shared Responsibility”. The theme underscores the significance of individuals, countries and the global community uniting in taking responsibility to address HIV and AIDS amidst the growing list of challenges derailing ongoing global efforts today including the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year’s World AIDS Day, the 32nd edition since its inception will be commemorated under the new unprecedented norm occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic which is threatening to erode gains made against AIDS over years. A recent study by UNAIDS warned of retrogression in Sub Saharan Africa caused by COVID-19. The report noted further that the global AIDS response could be set back by 10 years or more if the COVID-19 disrupts HIV services, a situation partners are determined to avoid. Like her peers in the region, Kenya is racing against time to attain the ambitious global 90:90:90 targets as it ushers in a defining decade that the global community is determined to attain in ending AIDS as a public health threat by the year 2030.

Thus the 2020 World AIDS Day provides an opportunity for stakeholders and partners drawn from different sectors to re-think strategies, re-imagine systems and devise new innovative ways to combat the two pandemics while ensuring that gains made against HIV are safeguarded.

Under the stewardship of the National AIDS Control Council plans are underway to ensure national and county events are held in a community set up while ensuring adherence to COVID-19 guidelines. Breaking from the norm the event shall thus focus more on vulnerable households of People Living with HIV and AIDS, Orphans and Vulnerable Children, Care givers, Adolescents and Young People including pregnant and breastfeeding adolescent girls and young women, Key Populations and Persons with Disability.

As a build up towards World AIDS Day a number of activities are lined up. HIV and COVID-19 themed Television and Radio interviews are scheduled that shall involve partners in a bold and strategic move to strengthen partnerships in the response. Airing of carefully-packaged messages in form of TV infomercials and Radio spots through National TV and community radio stations respectively are also scheduled for as planners seek to sensitize, mobilize and rally communities against the two pandemics. Besides media related activities, HIV Counselling Testing Services will also be offered as well as Condom distribution. Already the process of identifying vulnerable households is ongoing. The Faith sector, one of the critical partners in the response has also embarked on a month-long sensitization programme with targeted HIV and AIDS messages among faithful’s.

The National event will be held in Kajiado County where Health Cabinet Secretary for Health Mutahi Kagwe is expected to be The Chief Guest. A similar high profile event will be held in Nyamira County to be graced by Health PS Susan Momanyi.  Counties shall mark the event at different venues. It’s expected that The Kenya AIDS Strategic Framework 2 and other documents will be launched on that day.

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

NACC CEO Dr Nduku Kilonzo, EBS, addressing leaders from Kiambu County during a training on Sustainable Health Financing and Governance held in Naivasha.

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”.

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

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.

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.

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.

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

Ms. Regina Ombam, the Deputy Director HIV Investments at the National AIDS Control Council

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.

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