Senators from Nyanza have decried the high rate of HIV/Aids prevalence in the region and challenged the local leadership to take a leading role in the war against the scourge.
Senators Moses Kajwang’ (Homa Bay), Fred Outa (Kisumu) and James Orengo (Siaya) said it was high time the leadership of Migori, Kisumu, Homa Bay and Siaya counties take a position on the issue of HIV/AIDS as statistics were clear that they were leading in prevalence.
Flanked by Narok senator, Ledama ole Kina and Gem MP, Elisha Odhiambo, the senators who addressed the world Aids day celebrations at Mutumbu chief’s camp in North Gem location, Siaya County, lamented that the future of the lake region communities was bleak unless elected leaders and all stake holders joined hands to combat the scourge.
The Senators said they were ready to lead the war against HIV/AIDS in the region and called on the public to take seriously advice given by the experts.
Senator Kajwang said that for years, Homa Bay County had been leading in HIV/AIDS prevalence, only to be overtaken by Siaya in the just released statistics where prevalence stands at 21% against Homa Bay’s 20.7%.
“Other counties’ statistics are as low as four percent and we should ask ourselves, why us? Why Siaya, Migori, Kisumu, Homa bay, Busia? What is unique about us? Posed Kajwang.
Kisumu senator, Fred Outa lamented that prevalence rates continued to soar amongst communities in the lake region despite the presence of high number of non-governmental organisations fighting the scourge.
His Narok counterpart, Ledama ole Kina called for channeling of more resources towards research and development of cure for the scourge.
He said the country was losing a lot of money under the leased medical equipment programme, resources that would have greatly helped in medical research.
Siaya Senator, James Orengo called for openness and support towards efforts to tackle the HIV/AIDS.
He called for strengthening of the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) and urged those who test positive not to shy away from taking drugs and adhering to recommendations from the health experts.
Gem MP, Elisha Odhiambo who was the chief guest called on the parliament to introduce national HIV/AIDS testing days when elected leaders will lead the country in knowing their status through tests.
“This way, the citizens will take us seriously and take up voluntary testing” he said.
During the occasion, a representative of the National Aids Control Council, Kennedy Oluoch Nyamolo lamented that though Siaya was leading in HIV/AIDS prevalence, the county government had not allocated any money in its budget to fight the scourge.
“It is disappointing that funding statistics from the NACC indicate that the county government had allocated nothing in its 2018/2019 budget for aids control while partners have a whopping 1.6 billion budget” he lamented.
By Philip Onyango