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HIV prevention: Eswatini officials benchmark in Homa Bay

Thursday January 23 2020

Aids

Homa Bay, Siaya and Migori are some the counties with the highest HIV infection rates in Kenya. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

GEORGE ODIWUOR
By GEORGE ODIWUOR
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Health officials from Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) are in Homa Bay County for benchmarking on eradication and management of HIV infections.

The officials, from the country’s Health ministry, are learning new methods being used in the county governed by Mr Cyprian Awiti.

Homa Bay, Siaya and Migori are some of the counties with the highest HIV infection rates in Kenya.

A report in 2018 by two government agencies leading the fight against the scourge showed that Siaya County had the highest number of adults infected with HIV in Kenya.

Siaya recorded a prevalence rate of 21 per cent and was followed by Homa Bay at 20.7 per cent, Kisumu 16.3 per cent, Migori 13.3 per cent and Busia 7.7 per cent.

BEST MODEL

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The Eswatini delegation, led by Health Minister Huhle Makhubu, paid Deputy Governor Hamilton Orata a courtesy call at the county headquarters in Homa Bay town on Wednesday.

Ms Makhubu said Homa Bay best models the fight against HIV in the country.

“Homa Bay achieved a big milestone in reducing the spread of HIV. We are here to find out what the government is doing,” she said.

She said her team previously visited Kiambu and Nairobi counties for the same reasons, their mission being to strengthen the Business Process for Impact (BPI) programme, which is aimed at reducing HIV infections.

IMPROVEMENT

Mr Orata said that Homa Bay has reduced its HIV prevalence rate from 27 per cent in 2013 to the current 20.6 per cent.

He cited implementation of a special anti-HIV programme in Ndhiwa and Mbita sub-counties, sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and George Washington University.

“Deaths related to HIV have drastically reduced since 2019. Before Governor Cyprian Awiti and I took office, many people had died of Aids,” he said.

Measures the county has taken include educating residents on how to protect themselves from the virus, the deputy governor added.