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USAID fighting the spread of HIV in western Kenya

The fight against mother-child HIV/Aids infections in Busia and Bungoma got a major boost after USAID Dumisha Afya was rolled out in the two counties to fast track mobilization and capacity building initiatives in data collection.

According to chief of party of USAID Dumisha Afya project Dr. Eveline Ashiono said at least US dollars 34million was disbursed for procurement of electronic equipment to capture required data during the exercise to minimize cases of mother to child HIV/AIDS transmission.

“USAID- Dumisha Afya is a five year projects funded by USAID in partnership with Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital, targeting HIV/AIDS victims in Busia and Bungoma in terms of HIV prevention care, treatment services and health system strengthening services to fight mother to child infection,” noted Ashiono.

The purpose of this project is to provide key clinical support to the Government of Kenya national HIV response with the overall goal of increasing access and coverage for HIV prevention, care and treatment services towards achieving the “95-95-95” targets.

Mother-to-child transmission of HIV (MTCT) is the transmission of HIV from a mother to her child during pregnancy, labor, delivery, or lactation and breastfeeding. Enormous progress has been made in reducing MTCT over the last ten year. This is highlighted by the 53 per cent reduction of new pediatric infections between 2010 and 2020 declining from 320,000 to 150,000.

In Busia County for instance, out of 6040 expectant mothers for the year 2021-2022, only 94 children were infected representing 1.6 per cent transmission rate. The mother to child HIV infection rate in Busia county stands at 8.7percent.

Busia County Director, Medical Services Dr Janerose Ambuchi, lauded the partnership between USAID-Dumisha Afya initiative and the county government of Busia and reiterated the department’s keen focus on advocacy and management of mother-child infections that are contained across the county.

“We are committed to working with you as you carry out your interventions which are supporting the Department of Health and Sanitation. By the end of this project, we will ensure mother to child HIV infection rates drop to 0.8 per cent,” said Busia County Director of Health Dr. Melsa Lutomia.

While gracing the occasion, Busia County Assembly Speaker Eng. Fredrick Odilo affirmed the county government leadership support to the USAID- sponsored initiative and called for positive participation from stakeholders, including the fourth estate for advocacy purposes.

“We are going to strengthen integration and linkages both within our facilities and the community considering that HIV affects all the Departments. We will legislate on laws and policies that ensure we offer target service delivery across the HIV cascade to ensure the client is put at the centre stage,” noted Odilo.

“We have received EMR (medical records equipment) equipment to facilitate digitalization of the data for close monitoring. We want to promise as a county that we will provide full support for the benefit of Busia residents,” added Eng. Odilo.

Currently the project supports 74 ART sites that targets the provision of HIV treatments and reduces mother to child transmission to less than 2 per cent in Kenya.

By Absalom Namwalo

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