"... and on the either side of the river was there the tree of life, which bore twelve kinds of fruit, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations." ... Rev 22.2

 

 

 

Five faith-based organisations came together in November 2016 to celebrate and showcase their resounding success in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Kenya. 

The five organisations – CHAK, Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB), Coptic Mission Hospital, Eastern Deanery Aids Relief Program (EDARP) and BOMU Medical Centre – have over the last five years been supported by CDC Kenya through the support of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). 

Together, the five FBOs have tested more than 2.5 million people and provided 165,000 patients with antiretroviral therapy (ART). HIV testing was also provided to over 200,000 pregnant women, 26,000 of whom were identified as HIV+ and subsequently provided with interventions to prevent mother-to-child transmission. 

The mother to child transmission rate in these FBO programs currently ranges from 2.5-4.0 per cent. 

According to CDC Kenya Country Director Dr. Kevin M. De Cock, the five FBOs contribute to almost 30 per cent of the ART achievements for CDC and to 17 per cent of the national figures. During this period, the FBOs managed a collective funding amount of overUSD156 million throughout their respective cooperative agreements amounting to approximately 15 per cent of the CDC PEPFAR funds over the last five years.

Some of the achievements by the FBOs are:  

Care and treatment 

  • Over 200,000 patients cumulatively ever reached and started on ART
  • 98 per cent ART uptake among patients on care
  • Over 90 per cent 12 months retention on ART • Over 80 per cent viral load uptake among patients on ART with viral suppression of about 90 per cent 

TB/HIV 

  • Over 96 per cent TB screening uptake
  • Decline in new TB cases among patients on care from 3 per cent in 2012 to 1 per cent in 2016

Health Systems Strengthening 

  • Five health facilities with fully accredited laboratories
  • Electronic Medical Records (EMR) in all supported health facilities with Point of Care EMR in over 30 health facilities
  • Provision of hardware and software for financial management systems in over 40 health facilities
  • Three health facilities nationally recognized as HIV training centres
  • One health facility recognized as a national sentinel site
  • Board orientation and strategic plan development in over 40 health facilities
  • Infrastructure support with clinical and laboratory equipment in all 118 health facilities

During a colourful dissemination forum held in Nairobi on November 3, 2016, the FBOs also shared best practices in TB management and improving care and treatment of children and young people learned during implementation of their diverse projects over the five year period. 

Testimonies of patients who had benefitted from the life-saving programmes implemented by the five faith based organisations formed the main highlight of the event. 

The five FBOs have made major strides towards control of HIV/AIDS. These include: 

  1. Expanded treatment: FBOs have leveraged the reach of their health networks to complement and expand the reach of the public health systems into underserved communities. They continue to run HIV prevention and advocacy programs as well as care and support programs which provide an atmosphere of acceptance and hope for millions of people living with HIV/AIDS in marginalized and under-served areas. FBOs have also ensured sustained and long term viral suppression of HIV positive clients within their networks. The average viral suppression proportion rate —the gold standard for treatment success— was about 90 per cent in FBO networks, a rate that is better than the national average which is below the 90 per cent target of viral suppression.
  2. Close collaboration with MOH: FBOs have worked closely with the Kenyan MOH to strengthen the HIV programme across different geographic regions, including review of policy; development of county specific HIV strategic plans; providing in-service staff training and mentorship; and being members of different technical working groups at the national, county and sub-county levels.
  3. Increased use of accurate, timely data: Through PEPFAR 2, FBO facilities developed a culture of evidence-based decision making, analyzing patient and program data and using the information to make informed decisions that address gaps in service delivery and program operations.
  4. Strengthened human resources: FBOs have recruited and trained health service providers, including nurses, doctors, clinical officers, pharmacists, laboratory technicians and data managers. This has ensured ongoing delivery of high quality HIV care and treatment services.
  5. Infrastructural development: Based on each facility’s needs, FBOs have funded and managed structural refittings, purchased essential equipment, trained staff how to use the equipment, and encouraged integration of HIV and non-HIV services where appropriate so that facilities could leverage the improvements for all patients.
  6. Reliable supply chain: FBOs have built robust supply chain mechanisms to ensure a continuous supply of medicines and other essential products. These have guaranteed uninterrupted supply of commodities while improving capacity of sites to manage their own commodities.
  7. Improved health leadership and governance: FBOs have worked with sites to set appropriate systems, structures and regulations that guarantee accountability at the site level. This includes segregation of duties, staff involvement in budgeting, training staff on grants management and improving overall program cost/efficiency.

The achievements showcased by the faith based organisations are proof that they continue to be key players in the health sector in Kenya and major contributors to the global 90:90:90 objectives espoused by UNAIDS and PEPFAR.   

 

 

 

 

 

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