AMPATH Integral to HIV Plan Launched by Kenya's First Lady
Kenya’s First Lady, Margaret Kenyatta, launched the West Pokot Business Plan for the elimination of Mother-to-Child Transmission (eMTCT) of HIV earlier this month. The business plan is a roadmap that outlines how the county will dedicate more resources for eMTCT by 2021 in line with the national Kenya Framework for Elimination of Mother-To-Child Transmission of HIV and Syphilis. AMPATH, with support from USAID, implements HIV care and treatment in West Pokot County, including eMTCT, and played a significant role in creating the roadmap.
Only three of Kenya’s 47 counties have similar roadmaps. The process of building the plan involved developing very local solutions with feedback from the community. Some of the strategic activities included in the business plan are: recruiting and retaining mentor mothers, strengthening community coordination and partnerships, engaging council of elders in advocacy and increased training of community health workers.
In the introduction to the business plan, Prof. John Krop Lonyangapuo, Governor of West Pokot County, said, “Any new infection is one infection too many. We recognize one of the key pillars in the population are the mothers and our children who represent the future. To safeguard this future, we have adopted a community-led model to bridge the gaps between the health needs of our people and services while ensuring that services are sustainable, socially and culturally sensitive.”
West Pokot County’s population is estimated at 777,180 in 2018 and is projected to grow to 987,989 and 1,338,990 in 2022 and 2030 respectively. According to 2017 estimates, the overall HIV prevalence among adults in West Pokot County was 1.6 percent, lower than the national average of 4.8 percent. Some of the challenges for lowering the rate of MTCT include low rates of prenatal visits and skilled birth deliveries, stigma and discrimination, inadequate service coverage and staff shortages.
Sylvester Kimaiyo, MD, Chief of Party for AMPATH Plus, speaking during the event said, “This business plan is a milestone not only to this county, but also to the whole of Kenya and AMPATH program, since we have been together in this fight against HIV. Our primary objective has always been to pursue the HIV-free dream for our future generation and this plan marks a step towards achieving that.” He noted that AMPATH provides HIV care to more than 2,000 people from the county.
The launch of the business plan was part of the 3rd Beyond Zero Medical Safari. The goal of the medical safari is to provide medical screenings, treatment and referrals. A team from AMPATH Oncology was also part of the medical team providing screenings at the event.
Photo credit: Beryl Maritim