Her Excellency Margaret Kenyatta has today commemorated World Aids Day with a special message.
She said that this day is set aside to raise awareness of the HIV pandemic and calls on us to unite and reaffirm our commitment to stop new HIV infections.
“..support those infected and affected by HIV, and remember those who have lost their lives due to AIDS.”
“Thirty two years since World AIDS Day was first dedicated towards awareness and global solidarity in the AIDS response, the importance of this day reminds us that we still have not won the war.” read the message.
This year’s theme being Global Solidarity, Shared Responsibility, it calls on Kenyans to come together as a community to scale up our efforts towards ending HIV, protecting people living with AIDS and shielding those who are most at risk.
However, the pandemic has heightened our attention towards the vulnerability of the human race challenging our realization of the delicate complexity of our health systems.
In her message she congratulated all county government efforts towards increased investment and resources to fight this virus through their Elimination of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV Business Plans saying that they are critical vehicles for target setting and tracking.
“I applaud the work of our community health worker for their tireless work and dedication to ensure that pregnant mothers in their community deliver their babies in a health facility and receive proper health care,” read the message.
She encouraged mothers to attend at least four antenatal checks where they can receive free testing.
“For seropositive mothers, please attend post-natal clinics and adhere to the prescribed anti-retroviral treatment protocol.” she said.
Separate, about 170 children from Kirinyaga County have graduated from HIV Exposed Infants (HEI) program after successfully going through a two-year program aimed at protecting them from contracting the virus from their mothers.
The graduation event was carried out over the weekend across all the sub counties in Kirinyaga with an aim of appreciating mothers who have been able to breastfeed and wean their babies without passing the virus to them.
The County Executive Committee Member for Health, Gladys Kimingi said that the program has been a success story and has seen mother to child transmissions reduced to 2 percent.
The event was carried out by the department of health as a curtain raiser for the World Aids Day commemoration.
Kenya’s HIV prevalence rates over the years have come down considerably to less than 4.5% showing a positive trajectory that has required both individual and collective effort.
Her excellency said that through Beyond Zero she committed to support government efforts towards achieving national targets to heed the global call towards ending HIV.
She also urged for more collaboration, resource allocation and support through partnerships with national and international partners to scale up and expand access to prevent the spread of HIV for mothers, children and youth.
By Joy Kyalo