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State spends Sh25bn annually to manage AIDS

The National Government spends Sh25 billion to treat HIV/Aids annually, the Director of Medical Services, Preventive and Promotive Health in the Ministry of Health Dr. Andrew Mulwa has said.

Consequently, Dr. Mulwa called for multi-sectoral approach in ending the triple threat of new HIV infections, early pregnancies and sexual gender based violence (SGBV) which he said impacted negatively on social economic development in the country.

Dr Mulwa said that due to the triple threat, the government has invested more resources in health instead of investing in other sectors of the economy like roads, education and water.

“As a society, we must end triple threat because it has affected our economy, annually the government spends 25 billion shillings which would have been used in other development projects in various sectors,” said Dr. Mulwa while sensitizing community gate keepers and opinion leaders on elimination of the triple threat at Police Grounds in Wote town on Tuesday.

He revealed that there were 98 new infection cases weekly which translate to 5,294 cases in the country annually.

“Nationally, there are an estimated 99,159 adolescents aged between 10-19 years living with HIV of whom 1,942 are in Makueni County saying the trend is worrying and needs to be tackled,” he said.

On early teenage pregnancies, Dr Mulwa said one out of five women nationally who visit antenatal care (ANC) in health facilities is a teenager.

He further pointed out that of a total 10,393 women who attended ANC in Makueni, 2,546 were adolescent girls in Kibwezi East Sub County between January and May 2022.

Dr Mulwa added that in the last six years, a total of 36,892 adolescents have been impregnated in Makueni County while saying in 2021 alone 4,724 cases of teenage pregnancies were reported.

During the sensitization campaign, Dr Mulwa disclosed that 308 cases of SGBV were reported in 2021 whereas 131 cases have been recorded between January and May this year in the county.

Consequently, the director said the triple threat vice denies the girl child her democratic right to education besides giving her responsibilities of mother that she cannot manage.

While blaming parents of abdicating their duties of parenting, Dr Mulwa urged the parents to take their rightful position of educating their children in a bid to combat this triple threat in the county.

“The triple threat menace has led to school dropout among teenagers. This has also given our girls a burden of raising children that they have no experience with,” he observed.

On his part, Mbooni East Sub County Deputy County Commissioner (DCC) Mr. John Cheruiyot said that they would intensify the campaign in the grassroots in barazas by using chiefs and their assistants to end this vice.

“We will use public barazas to sensitize and educate the community on ending the triple threat in the county,” said Cheruiyot.

He warned that the government would deal firmly with individuals found impregnating school children and SGBV perpetrators in the county.

Also the administrator called for partnership among all the stakeholders including the county government, civil society and opinion leaders in fighting against the triple threat.

Speaking at the same event, Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana said the triple threat is like an epidemic which he said needs to be averted in order to save the girl from the triple risk.

By Ronald Rono and Patrick Nyakundi

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