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Homa Bay County, CDC-Kenya agree to address HIV/TB disease

Homa Bay County Government yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC-Kenya) to ensure continuity of support in management of HIV/ Aids and tuberculosis (TB).

The MOU makes Homa Bay the first county to receive government to government support aimed at creating a self-reliant community.

Homa Bay County has been receiving support towards HIV/AIDs mitigation services relying heavily on the US government’s President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through CDC and USAID.

Speaking during the ceremony at the Governor’s office in Homa Bay town, the County Governor Cyprian Awiti elaborated that CDC has been working in conjunction with the county government since 2013 in funding various health programs through PEPFAR.

“CDC-Kenya has been our backbone in supporting the health sector, and majorly by financing the numerous partners who work with our health department in the management and treatment of HIV/AIDs and TB,” stated Awiti.

Despite various milestones made by the county towards the reduction in infection rates in the county, Homa Bay still has the highest HIV prevalence in Kenya standing at 20.7 per cent, with over 120,000 persons living with HIV and on Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART).

HIV/TB management has been heavily reliant on development partners with the county government only providing leadership and health infrastructure, a move that birthed an initiative by the US government to foster a self-reliant community that ends reliance on foreign assistance.

The MOU will see the county government and the CDC formulate a structured roadmap that will ensure a smooth transition and absorption of partner-supported staff by the county government.

“Majority of staff employed by our partners during implementation of projects will be let go at the end of the organization’s tenure, and the partnership will formulate a way to ensure transition of the staff into the county government,” explained Awiti.

On his part, the Country Director for CDC-Kenya Dr. Mark Bulterys, expressed hope for a continued positive working environment in the county as well as the provision of Extension of Care services in the county.

Bulterys emphasized the need for increased Covid-19 vaccine administration for people living with HIV and with low immunity adding that such patients have the right to live a full life.

“We are aiming at ensuring people with HIV live a full and productive healthy lives and that is why we need to put more emphasis on management and treatment of the same,” stated Bulterys.

The County Director for Health Gordon Okomo reiterated the need for more focus on reduction of infection rates in youths and adolescents. He said the county had registered a 57 per cent reduction in new infections.

By Omar Zabbibah

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