EGPAF Celebrates Milestones in Kenya, Launches New 5-Year Project
On October 28, 2016, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) celebrated milestones of its project, Pamoja. Pamoja is the Swahili word for “together”.
Funded by the US President's Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the six-year Pamoja Project aided in the testing of more than 1.4 million people for HIV and scaled up access to HIV antiretroviral treatment (ART), by starting more than 48,000 patients on HIV medicines in Kenya, particularly in Homa Bay County.
Mother-to-child transmission of the disease fell from 17% in 2011, to 7 % in 2016, protecting more than 4, 700 babies from being infected by their mothers.
Among the population started on ART, 83% achieved a viral suppression of undetectable levels.
The Kenya 2016 AIDS Report, released last month, showed ART coverage for children in Homa Bay at 76% compared to 63% for adults. The report also shows a drastic reduction of new pediatric infections, by 63% between 2013 and 2015, in Homa Bay County – marking a great achievement in the fight to end AIDS in children.
“Something good is happening in Homa Bay which the world can learn from,” said Charles Lyons, President and CEO of EGPAF. “If we can achieve this success in a high prevalence county within a country with one of the highest burdens of HIV, we can control the epidemic and end AIDS."
“[The] Pamoja Project is a proof that we can control HIV if we work in partnership and defeat the strongest enemy -- stigma and discrimination,” said Dr. Jackson Kioko, Director of Medical Services for Kenya Government’s Health Ministry.
To build on the success of Pamoja, a new five-year project has been launched.
The 90-90-90 goals aim to identify 90% of all people living with HIV; provide ART to 90% of those identified; and aims to ensure that 90% of all people living with HIV on ART to supress the virus.
With a $15 million (USD) allocation for the first year, the new Timiza90 Project is expected to enhance facility and household testing, and to heighten retention for those already on ART while also further reducing mother-to-child transmission of HIV to less than 2%.
“We will continue to prioritize and strategically position these new resources, to ensure the highest possible achievement towards HIV epidemic control,” said CDC Director in Kenya, Dr. Kevin De Cock.
The project is also expected to increase voluntary male medical circumcision (VMMC) to more than 80% and to support reduction of HIV transmission among key populations.
“Since we already know the formula of providing comprehensive services, we will accelerate the efforts through Timiza90 to reach our Year 1 target – aiming to test 912,000 individuals in Homa Bay,” said Dr. Eliud Mwangi, Country Director for EGPAF-Kenya.
Other Timiza90 2017 targets include:
- Identify 26,000 previously undiagnosed HIV cases, including more than 3,700 in children
- Start more than 23,000 adults and ~ 4,000 children on ART
- Provide ART to 83,775 persons living with HIV
- Provide ART to 7,400 HIV-positive mothers
“These efforts will allow the county to achieve its health goals and they will become a benchmark for other counties and regions affected by HIV,” said H.E. Cyprian Awiti, Homa Bay County Governor.