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Ministry of health kicks off HIV/AIDS household survey, 

The Ministry of Health yesterday launched the third HIV population survey dubbed the “Kenya Population Based HIV Impact Assessment” [KENPHIA] to establish the state of the disease in the country.

Targeting 20,000 households selected randomly across the country, the survey will also include approximately 35,000 people aged below 64 years.

The survey comes following several years of scaling up HIV prevention, treatment and care in Kenya .

Unlike the two previous surveys, KENPHIA will also be collecting data on STIs, Hepatitis B as well as the nutrition status in children and pregnant mothers.

Speaking during the launch of the six months survey, the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Ms Sicily Kariuki called on Kenyans to cooperate saying it is in tandem with the country’s vision of providing universal health coverage by 2022.

“The government will commit human and financial resources to achieve Universal health coverage by 2022. Data from KENPHIA survey will enable us to effectively allocate resources towards achievement of HIV epidemic control,” said Kariuki in a speech read on her behalf by Dr Rashid Asman, Chief Administrative Secretary at the Ministry of Health.

She noted that the survey will for the first time be seeking population-based information on prevention, care and treatment of HIV in infants and children.

“The fight against HIV and its ravages cannot be won without understanding its impact on adolescents and children. KENPHIA gives the country an opportunity to get information at the lowest level of primary care,” said the Health Cabinet Secretary.

The Director of Medical Services Dr. Jackson Kioko, speaking at the launch said KENPHIA will provide counties the much needed data to support planning, resource mobilization and programming of HIV.

Dr Kioko noted the survey will help people learn about their own health, with participants getting free HIV testing and counseling in the privacy of their own homes.

“It’s bigger it’s bolder, we urge all Kenyans in the selected households to participate, Wakati ni sasa,” he said

People who already know their HIV status are also encouraged to participate, as the survey includes tests to assess disease progression and treatment response such as viral load testing in the convenience of their homes.

According to Head of Directorate of Preventive Health Dr. Peter Cherutich, who is also the project’s Principal investigator, the government and its partners will use the data collected to inform policy decisions and resource allocation.

It will also use it to improve health service delivery, and make progress towards eliminating HIV by 2030, “KENPHIA provides us with the opportunity to understand the HIV Epidemic with greater clarity and precision,” said Dr. Cherutich.

The US Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec lauded the Ministry of Health remarking that “with over one million Kenyans receiving lifesaving anti-retroviral therapy and over 82,000 Kenyans children affected by HIV currently receiving services, Kenya has one of the most successful U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief [PEPFAR] programs”.

“These outcomes serve as reminder that for the first time, the global community has the opportunity to control the HIV/AIDS epidemic without a vaccine or a cure. The US government will continue to support this trend of success to help ensure the sustainability of HIV services in Kenya,” Godec added.

The survey estimated to cost sh. 2 billion is funded by the United States. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief [PEPFAR], through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] and implemented by Ministry of Health.

PEPFAR is also funding similar surveys in 14 African countries, they include Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Lesotho, Tanzania, Uganda, Namibia, Cameroon, Cote D’Ivoire and Ethiopia.

By Denson Mututo

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