Children living with HIV in Kiambu County are expected to get improved care and treatment after the county adopts a Quality Improvement Model for Children Living with HIV (CLHIV).
The programme that is implemented by Cheer UP Program (CUP), a Community Based Organization (CBO) under a USAID funded project called CASE-OVC (Comprehensive Assistance, Support and Empowerment of Orphans and Vulnerable Children) is targeting 2,400 CLHIV.
The project is expected to build and strengthen community-facility linkages and referral networks to identify, assess and link to testing and communication of results.
The model will as well accelerate treatment, viral tracking and suppression of CLHIV through a mix of interventions that address barriers to viral local suppression and help improve HIV treatment outcomes.
During the programme’s sensitization meeting held at the Kiambu Sub County board room, Lydia Muthoni, the Program Manager said Cheer Up mission aims at improving the quality of life in the society by transforming lives, empowering communities, providing leaderships, promoting collaboration with GOK and other stakeholders in responding to poverty, HIV and other public concerns.
“Kiambu County is ranked sixth among the 18 HIV high burden counties in Kenya with a prevalence rate of 5.6 per cent. The county has an estimated population of 52,812 People Living with HIV as of 2020. Of these numbers, 49, 632 are adults, adolescents (10-19yrs) Living with HIV are 2,536(4.8 per cent) while young adults (15-24yrs are 3,978(7.5 per cent). Children Living with HIV (0-14yrs) are 3,179(6.0 per cent),” said the program manager.
Muthoni further said that in 2020, 171 cases of new infections among adolescents aged 10-19 years and 434 new cases among youth’s ages 15-24 years were recorded. The estimated AIDS related deaths were 145(17 per cent) among children aged 0-14 years and 89(10.4 per cent) among Children Living with HIV aged 10-19 yrs.
Out of these Children Living with HIV, Cheer Up program has enrolled 601 children and adolescents living with HIV aged 0-17yrs into the program.
“Having someone near you who shares your interests, fears and understands you is a rare blessing. At cheer up we also have organized support group systems where people with the same need, sit down together and face it together,” said Muthoni.
On her part, the County Director Public Health and Sanitation Teresiah Kariuki lauded the programme saying this year alone the county has already registered over 46 new cases of HIV infections as of May 2022
“Most cases of these children living with HIV are as a result of Mother to Child transmission, hence the need for sensation and care as these cases can be prevented if such programs are encouraged,” said Kariuki.
In June this year, the National Aids Control Council released a report that indicated that about 78,469 children in Kenya are Living with HIV with 5,201 being the new cases of Children infected with HIV by May of 2022.
By Grace Naishoo