OGAC Commends CHS for Innovative HIV Testing Strategies

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Sean Cavanaugh from the US Department of State interacts with a Bondo Sub-County Hospital HTS Provider on HIV testing and Partner Notification Services offered in the facility.

Sean Cavanaugh from the US Department of State interacts with an HTS Provider at Bondo Sub-County Hospital on HIV testing and Partner Notification Services offered in the facility.

Members of the Office of the United States Global AIDS Coordinator and Health Diplomacy (OGAC) visited the CHS SHINDA Project in Siaya County on June 26-27, 2017. The team was in the country to conduct technical support visits for HIV Testing Services (HTS) across various counties that benefit from US Government support for HIV programming.

Representatives from the OGAC team interacted with the Siaya County Health Management Team (CHMT), CHS and other partners working in the county, in a bid to understand the successes and challenges in the provision of HIV testing services.

The team was impressed by the contribution of the county government and its partners in respect to testing and identification of positives in the community and gave their input on how these can be further improved and scaled up.

One of the main strategies emphasised by the OGAC team in identification of HIV positive individuals is Partner Notification Services (PNS). This involves the identification and testing of sexual contacts of HIV positive clients.

CHS was applauded for its innovation and contribution to PNS through the introduction of targeted testing at the workplace among the fishing community of Wichlum Beach in Bondo. This innovative approach by the SHINDA project team aims to find and offer HIV testing services to contacts of HIV positive clients from Nyaguda Health Centre – a CHS-supported facility located four kilometres away from Wichlum Beach. By reviewing the data of index clients from the facility, the CHS team discovered that most of their contacts were fishermen from the beach.

Being a fishing community that relies on daily activities to make ends meet, coupled with the general poor health seeking behaviour of men and proximity to the nearest health centre, it was almost impossible for these contacts to make their way to the health centre for testing. CHS responded by offering workplace testing at the beach for both contacts and the general population.

“Within the last two and a half months that we have been at Wichlum, we have seen a total of 225 males, 122 females and 55 youth tested for HIV. Out of these, 34 males, 31 females and five adolescents have been identified as HIV positive, and have all been linked to care,” reported Salesa Abuga, the CHS Bondo Sub-county HIV Testing Services Coordinator.

According to CHS SHINDA Project Director Dr Jacquin Kataka, these numbers represent individuals who would not have ordinarily gone for testing at the health centre.

The OGAC team also had the opportunity to see CHS-supported health facility work through a visit to Bondo Sub-County Hospital. The facility has fully optimised its testing services across all service delivery points to include the inpatient department, outpatient department and special clinics. Recently, CHS introduced testing at the facility’s mortuary for mourning family members – an unconventional testing practice that has begun to yield several positives. In addition to these, CHS has also deployed extra HTS providers who carry out extended HIV testing on weekday evenings and over the weekends.

“Globally, Kenya has been on the cutting edge in terms of HIV implementation and innovations. Many other countries look to Kenya to show them how HIV programming can be optimised and borrow the same for application in their contexts. We would like to encourage this to continue,” said Sean Cavanaugh one of the OGAC visitors, during the meeting with the Siaya CHMT and its partners.

Accompanying the OGAC team on the visit to Siaya were CDC, USAID and PEPFAR staff based in Kenya.

CHS currently receives US Government funding from PEPFAR, through CDC, for the implementation of high quality HIV care, prevention and treatment services for three of its projects – SHINDA, NAISHI and TEGEMEZA PLUS.

About OGAC

The Office of the United States Global AIDS Coordinator and Health Diplomacy (OGAC) is the office responsible for the leadership and oversight of the US global response to HIV. This is done through the implementation of the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

Members of the Visiting Team

Sean Cavanaugh – PEPFAR

Jason Roffenbender – PEPFAR

Jacqueline Rurangirwa – CDC Atlanta

Dr James Batuka – USAID Kenya

Norah Talam – CDC Kenya

Maxwell Marx – PEPFAR Kenya

Lucy Nganga – CDC Kenya

Lennah Nyabiage – CDC Kenya

Fredrick Miruka – CDC Kisumu


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