Yesterday, the US Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec, visited the CHS-supported Makueni County Referral Hospital and participated in a graduation ceremony of 32 HIV-Exposed Infants (HEI). These are infants born to HIV positive mothers that have gone through a follow-up program for the elimination of mother to child transmission of HIV and on testing at 18 months, have been confirmed as HIV-negative.
For more than a decade, the United States President’s Emergency Program for AIDS Relief (PEFPAR), through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been working in partnership with the Makueni County government to strengthen its health systems. More than 10.5 million dollars has been provided to the Makueni County government through this period and the county continues to receive support for provision of HIV care and treatment services across more than 70 health facilities and for 172 health care workers.
More than 22,000 adults and approximately 3,400 children (under the age of 15) are living with HIV in Makueni, which translates into a prevalence rate of 5.6%. PEPFAR, through CDC Kenya, supports nearly 15,000 patients who are on treatment, which includes 1,600 children.
At Makueni County Referral Hospital, about 94% of patients on treatment are virally suppressed. The facility has reduced mother to child transmission of HIV to 0% since October 2015, achieving virtual elimination of mother-to-child transmission, one of the ultimate goals in HIV care and delivery. This graduation ceremony recognised mothers of 32 HIV-exposed infants who have remained HIV negative by completing 18 months of follow up care in the elimination of mother-to-child transmission program. Since 2011, the program has served 290 HIV-exposed infants and only five have tested HIV-positive by the end of the program (rate of 1.7% at 18-months).
“Makueni County Referral Hospital has a long-standing history with CDC and has demonstrated that with a robust program that focuses on mother and child, and a commitment to providing high quality health services, mother to child transmission of HIV can be eliminated,” said Ambassador Robert Godec. The Ambassador was the chief guest at the event, which brought together the county health management team, implementing partners working in the county, as well as the facility healthcare workers.
As a new implementing partner in Makueni, CHS is committed in its mission and is working in close partnership with the Makueni County government to deliver quality HIV care, prevention and treatment programs through the PEPFAR-funded Naishi project. The support offered to Makueni county includes:
- HIV care and treatment service delivery
- Health leadership and governance
- Healthcare workers (e.g., nurses, clinical officers, social workers, etc.)
- Health infrastructure and equipment
- Health information systems
- Health products and commodity security