Thursday 26 July, Kitui. By Brian Peter
The Chief Officer Kitui County Ministry of Health and the chairman of the county assembly health committee today officially flagged off the Kenya Population-based HIV Impact Assessment survey team, in a colourful launch ceremony graced by top stakeholders in the county health sector.
The KENPHIA survey, which will last for two weeks in Kitui County, is part of a six-month nation-wide project under the Ministry of Health and funded by ICAP- US. The survey is on HIV, syphilis, and Hepatitis B; and will be covering 450 households and approximately 20,000 persons. Kenya National Bureau of Statistics was used in identifying the households to be involved in the survey, with random criteria being used in the identification.
According to Francis Ogola of NASCOP, KENPHIA will help the Kenyan government, its partners and the public to know: how many people are currently infected with HIV; how many people have new infections; and how many people with HIV are on effective treatment.
“The project will do more towards achieving the WHO 90-90 target,” said the CO Dr. Muthoka. “My ministry, through the county government will do all its best in terms of statistics and logistics to ensure the success of this project, which will give priority to the county prevalence that hasn’t been broken down in the past.” (The WHO 90-90 Target: 90% testing- 90% put on ARTs)
Speaking during the event, the Chairman County Assembly Health Committee Hon. Ndoo Mwanzia, who is also a clinician by profession, lauded the National government project, terming it as being in line with the governor’s manifesto.
“A healthy nation is a wealthy nation,” he said. “KEPHIA is giving us an opportunity to mitigate on the issues of HIV in our county.”
According to statistics, Kenya is number four in the countries with the highest HIV population in sub-Saharan Africa. HIV has affected the national economy by lowering per capita by 4.1%. Kitui county ranks number 14 country-wide, in HIV population, with 12,000 adults and 1600 children on viral suppression treatment. According to health records in the county, there are 1660 new infections annually. This has been largely attributed to the fact that 50% of the Kitui people don’t know their statuses; and half of those who do shy away from accessing treatment due to fear of stigmatization.