Kiambu County Government through the office of Governor Ferdinard Waititu Babayao and the Health Services department has partnered with LVCT, a Kenyan non-governmental organisation, and OPTIONS Consortium to improve HIV prevention in the county. The partnership is geared towards increasing and sustaining access to PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) drugs for Adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW).
PrEP is a course-of-HIV drug taken by HIV negative people and those who at risk of HIV infection to prevent infection. It can virtually eliminate the risk of getting HIV if taken consistently and correctly.
Speaking during the signing of the partnership, County Executive Committee Member in charge of health Mary Kamau said that the government is working with allied bodies to ensure that Kiambu County residents have access to all their medical needs.
“We are committed to delivering on the Governor’s manifesto on a healthy county,” she said, “and I am gladly welcoming all players in the health sector to join us in this because it is a collective responsibility.”
Also Read: Kiambu Launches Malezi Bora Initiative
The new initiative is expected to herald the transformation of county’s health sector towards achieving universal health coverage. This is part of the Universal Health Coverage that the department of health services is seeking to afford to all residents by making available: Emergency Services, Child Health Services, Maternal Health Services, Mental Health Services, Infectious Disease Management, Non-communicable Disease Management, Inpatient and Outpatient Services and Community Health Services among others across all county public health facilities.
The launch of the partnership paved way to a collaborative workshop which brought together policy makers and implementers to learn about new tools and resources and to share experiences and lesson learned related to oral PrEP especially for adolescent girls and young women.
PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is only for people who are at a very high risk of HIV infection the target populations is normally female to female sex, sex workers, men having sex with men), sero-discordant couples, adolescent girls and young women in Kiambu County.
Related Article: National Strategic Plan for TB and Leprosy to be Piloted in Kiambu
In Kiambu it is estimated that 59,016 people are living with HIV according to analysis done in 2018. An estimate of 36,859 have already been identified. It also is estimated that 2,507 adolescents (10-19yrs) live with HIV while the estimates also indicate that there are 5,369 youths (15-24yrs) living with the virus.
Currently, a total of 1,665 clients are on prep. This means that there is low in-take of PrEP in the county, but the workshop will facilitate the formulation of better policies and advocacy plans to address this. PrEP is available for free in all Kiambu County health facilities with plans being put in place by the department of health services to identify more dropping centers.