Health experts meeting in Mombasa for a seminar are calling for the adoption of integrated care model to enhance the country’s capacity to address the challenge posed by HIV and non-communicable diseases.
A panel of experts at the ongoing maisha conference in Mombasa submitted that an integrated approach to HIV and non-communicable diseases care model offers the potential of strengthening disease control programmes in the country.
They spoke during the ongoing 7th Maisha Scientific Conference in Mombasa that is expected to close today.
While making his submissions, Dr. Lazarus Momanyi of the National AIDS and STI Control Program noted that there is an increasing cohort of people above 50 years living with HIV; with 27 per cent of the 1.3 million on treatment within this group.
“HIV is an immune-suppressor, and over time, the virus is compromising the immunity of the old exposing them to opportunistic infections as they are more vulnerable than the younger populations. Data indicates that people living with HIV on care, with three or more non-communicable diseases, is increasing and is expected to hit 28 per cent by 2030.” He noted.
A statistical nightmare that Jude Otogo from the regional centre for healthy aging attributed to lack of an elaborate chronic diseases care model for non-communicable diseases.
“We should adopt the WHO integrated care of older persons model to provide a framework for health systems to integrate healthcare plans for older people.” He said.
On her part, Charity Mwende Kilu from the State Department of Social Protection said the government has recognised the gaps and embarked on promoting institutional care for older persons including guidelines on establishment and management of care homes.
Brian Rettmann, the Kenya PEPFAR Coordinator, says there is need to ensure those living with HIV live longer by adequately addressing related challenges besides antiretroviral treatment.
“The good news is, that as we put more and more people on treatment, they are living longer. The bad news is, that they are starting to experience other diseases. So, we need to ensure that the health system is ready, and have good linkages to ensure those on treatment have linkage to programmes on non-communicable disease like cancer.” Brian observed.
In sub-Saharan Africa, the prevalence of non-communicable diseases has risen sharply amidst a high burden of communicable diseases with an integrated approach to HIV and non-communicable diseases believed to offer the potential of strengthening disease control programmes.