The HIV/Aids-related deaths in Kenya have dropped by about 55 per cent from 60,000 in the last nine years to 28,000 last year according to the World AIDS Report 2019 released on Tuesday.
Additionally, new infections reduced by 51 per cent over the same period from 100,000 in 2013 to 49,000 currently.
The country’s HIV/Aids prevalence was at 4.9 percent with 1.8 percent (52,767) being new infections.
The Report released at Garissa Road Primary School in Thika town by Health Cabinet Secretary (CS), Sicily Kariuki, also showed the Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) coverage had improved with 1.2 Million people on treatment.
Statistics from Africa showed that 25 million people live with the virus, with 24.5 million on treatment globally.
The CS said the results affirmed the government’s efforts in countering the epidemic despite the structural, economic and cultural barriers in accessing health care and shrinking donor support.
“To address this, the Health Ministry’s budget has been increased by more than 50 per cent over the last two years. Beginning 2020, the Ministry has set aside funds to plug donor cuts in anti-retroviral therapy and essential services. This is in addition to increased counterpart financing,” said Kariuki.
She announced that with partnership with governors, they plan to employ 40,000 health providers to bring the number of community health volunteers to 100, 000.
They will help in the Level one’s in psycho-social support and will become the first point of contact in treatment.
The UNAIDS Executive Director, Winfred Byanyima, said women between 15-24 years are the most vulnerable, with statistics showing that more than 6,000 women within that age are being infected with HIV every week, the status being high in Africa.
She said efforts must be made to safeguard the interests and rights of girls and women such as rape, violence and gender inequality,
She added that millions of women can’t access healthy sex precautions like condoms or contraceptives unlike their male counterparts.
“A girl’s first experience with sex is violent, forceful, that’s the reality. Chances of infections that time are high. Poverty amongst women also contributes to the high prevalence,” she said.
Acting Kiambu Governor, James Nyoro said the HIV incidence in Kiambu was among the highest in the country at 4.5 per cent, with youths aged between 15 and 24 bearing the bigger percentage.
He said the community health volunteers will help in sensitizing residents and easing access to sex education.
By Muoki Charles