WORLD AIDS DAY Thursday, February 6, 2020
By BONIFACE MULU
Hundreds of people attended the 31st World AIDS Day anniversary marked at the Kitui Central Primary School in Kitui Town, Kitui County. The acting County Health Director, Dr. Grace Rabut was the chief guest at the function where she had represented the County Health and Sanitation Ministry Chief Officer, Dr. Richard Mukula Muthoka.
The director read the CO’s speech. The event had been organised by the County Health and Sanitation Ministry in partnership with the Centre for Health Solutions-Kenya, the Christian Health Association of Kenya (CHAK), the National Empowerment Network of People Living with HIV and AIDS in Kenya (NEPHAK), the Population Services Kenya, the National AIDS Control Council (NACC), the Kenya Medical Training College, the Kenya Water Institute, the Kenya Red Cross Society and the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) Kitui County Office. In his speech, the Centre for Health Solutions (CHS) Kenya Kitui County Senior Programme Officer, Philip Mutisya Nzioko said:
“I and the entire CHS familyy are delighted to share this platform with all of us as we commemorate the 31st anniversary of the World AIDS Day.” We join the global community in reflecting on our journey; the challenges and most important the successes we have had in combating the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
We show our support for our brothers and sisters living with the HIV and remember those who have died from HIV/AIDS in the past, the non-governmental official said. Nzioki added that although the antiretroviral therapy has transformed the HIV from a nearly always fatal infection into a manageable chronic condition, the HIV/AIDS remains a global health threat.
He said that by the end of 2018, it was estimated that approximately 37.9 million people worldwide were living with the HIV.
An estimated 770,000 people died from the AIDS-related illnesses in 2018 and about 1.7 million people were newly infected with the HIV, the expert said. “Back here at home, the current estimates show that approximately 1.5 million Kenyans are living with the HIV with approximately 52,800 new infections annually and 28,200 AIDS-related deaths,
” the CHS official said. Nzioki said that the 2018 National AIDS Control Council (NACC) estimates specifically for Kitui County, the HIV prevalence rate was 45 per cent and that the persons living with HIV were 28,661. And he added that the very year’s new infections were 1,146 and that the deaths were 600. Fellow citizens, these are not just statistics but number of fellow Kenyans.
Locally, we have made significant strides combating the epidemic through a multi-strategy approach including advocacy, social mobilisation and the HIV prevention and treatment, Nzioki said. “This strategy has been achieved through a multi-stakeholder approach with the call for all to join hands and unite for a course to control the HIV epidemic. For the first time in the modern history, we now have the opportunity to control a pandemic without a vaccine and a cure,” the expert said.
“Achieving the HIV epidemic control would be a remarkable accomplishment saving millions of lives, significantly lowering the burden of the HIV/AIDS in the countries and communities and beginning to reduce the future costs required to sustain the epidemic,” he added.
To achieve the HIV /AIDS epidemic control, we are committed to ensure that all ages, genders and at risk populations in our communities know their HIV status, receive lifesaving HIV prevention and treatment services and are virally suppressed if they are HIV positive, the CHS official said.
“We pledge our commitment to the county strategies and support for the HIV/AIDS epidemic control. Thank you,” he said. The occasion was also addressed by an official from the NACC, Iluminata Mugendi, the Kitui County AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections Coordinator Michael Kamenju, the County Public Health Officer Faith Kanini Mutinda, the County Health Promotion Officer Rachel Onyancha and the County Nursing Services Head Monica Mutisya. And Jacinta Maluki who had represented the Kenya Medical Training College Kitui Campus Principal Evelyn Nyamai, Agnes Kasuki who had represented the Kenya Water Institute Kitui Campus Principal Elkana Kaburi and the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) Kitui County Director Christopher Makau Mutua also addressed the occasion.
Others who also addressed the function included the Kitui County Health and Sanitation Administration Director Dorothy Mumangi and the National Youth Council (NYC) Kitui County Chairman Aggrey Nzomo Kavalu.