KENYA: Impoverished community receives HIV/AIDS care
[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
JOHANNESBURG, 21 October (PLUSNEWS) - Residents of Kibera, a slum in Kenya's capital, Nairobi, are set to benefit from the launch on Thursday of a new health centre that will provide treatment for HIV/AIDS and other illnesses.
Kibera South Health Centre, a joint initiative by Kenya's Ministry of Health and the international NGO, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), will be the first to give residents direct access to comprehensive public healthcare.
MSF said it aimed to demonstrate through this project that a full package of quality healthcare, integrating HIV and AIDS treatment, could successfully be provided in an urban slum setting.
Apart from full and free access to HIV/AIDS treatment, the programme will also include care for victims of gender-based and sexual violence, mother-and-child healthcare, family planning and outpatient consultations.
According to MSF's head of mission, Christine Jamet, the more than 600,000 people in Kibera were living in precarious conditions, where health, sanitation and infrastructure were almost non-existent.
"The population in this densely populated slum is extremely socially and economically vulnerable ... disease is rife, with the biggest killer in the slum being HIV/AIDS-related illnesses," Jamet said in a statement.
MSF has been working in Kibera since 1997, starting with a patient support centre that offered voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) and management of opportunistic infections for people people living with HIV/AIDS.
A huge demand forced MSF to increase its activities and the organisation now runs two HIV clinics providing HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment, VCT and antiretroviral (ARV) drugs.
Around 650 HIV-positive residents are being monitored and more than 150 are receiving ARVs through the project.