Ministry in Kenya – In Partnership with KEDHAP in Kisumu County Region: People Living with HIV and AIDS (PLWHA)
September 2021 Report
The ministry of support to PLWHA’s is one of the most vital and impactful programs KEDHAP is running. We have been able to give many members hope in the community and a reason to live near normal lives away from frustrations and the effects of HIV/AIDs through the work of grace. We are grateful to all our partners who have stood with us on this journey of transformation.
Although many considered HIV/AIDS to be a death sentence, it is still possible to live a long, healthy life due to ARVs (anti retro-viral drugs). ARVs are NOT a cure; they have to be taken for life. However, they will prevent HIV from spreading through the body and can prevent it from developing into AIDS. When taking these drugs, it is very important to never skip a dose. It is also very important to never miss a doctor’s appointment and to follow all the instructions the doctor gives. Living a healthy lifestyle also becomes more important as people are more vulnerable to disease.
Many people stigmatize those living with HIV/AIDS because it is an sexually transmitted infection (STI). They may believe that it is the fault of these people that they have the disease, and that infected people are to be avoided. However, people with HIV/AIDS deserve respect just like any other person.
The KEDHAP Foundation currently works with six comprehensive care clinics. In these areas, the following programs are available:
We work towards reducing new infections. This is done by increasing uptake of HIV testing services to community members and increasing access to testing and treatment for young mothers as well as enhancing education on HIV prevention to reduce risky sexual behavior. We have ensured a reduction of HIV transmission rates from mother to child through connections to the health services. Counseling is one of the important issues of care and support we offer to those living with HIV. We have also enhanced HIV/AIDS education at church level by bringing the conversation on HIV/AIDS in the open through the pulpit.
2. Support Services
We have reduced AIDS related mortality by 25% through assisting individuals with the care and treatment required within the first three months of diagnosis. Funding for transportation is provided to ensure that individuals from poverty can attend appointments. This has led to better treatment, overall care, and decreasing mortality. The maize (corn) provided is required for medication to be taken. We have engaged Community Health Workers to conduct home visitations to ensure retention of PLWHA’s in a care strategy to improve quality of care and improved health outcomes.
3. Community Advocacy
We have developed a child protection policy that has allowed for a robust HIV response at the schools and at community levels to ensure access to services by persons living with HIV. Previously we had reports of serious cases of stigma and discrimination towards PLWHAs in families, communities, and in institutions in which they seek services.
4. Strengthening the Integration of Health and Community Systems
We have built a strong system for HIV service delivery through specific health and community systems approaches, actions, and interventions to support an HIV response. Integration of the Community Health Workers is necessary towards ensuring a well-functioning health system. They play a critical role in HIV prevention, care, treatment, and support. Their roles include referrals and linkages to care and treatment services and enhancement of treatment literacy. They specifically conduct Home and Community Based Care. Currently, KEDHAP has trained and deployed 12 workers.
5. Education Sponsorship for PLWHA
Increasing support to PLWHA’s to continue with their education, KEDHAP has enabled 15 children to gain access to education through payment of their school fees.
KEDHAP has an additional program to empower girls to complete their high school education. In total 5,400 girls are being supported to stay in school through provision with sanitary pads and underwear.
In the six combined health facilities in the area that KEDHAP works, supports 264 people through the provision of funding for transportation to the PLWHA’s to attend their monthly clinic appointments as well as providing maize to be used as they take their ARV’s since most of them come from very poor backgrounds. Water tanks were also purchased at each clinic to collect rooftop rainwater.
Zachary: A Story of a Student’s Grace & Hope
Zachary is 16 years old and is orphaned. His father died prior to him being born and his mother died a short time later. Shortly after his mother’s death, he started getting sick. Eventually, his sister took him to the hospital where it was determined that he was HIV positive.
Zachary was given medication but slowly began struggling with the regularity of doctor appointments, the lack of transportation, and sufficient food to eat that is required with the medication. “I am seeing a lot of changes since I have been involved with the programs of KEDHAP. I am thankful for the transport and the maize I have been receiving. My health is improving greatly. I hope to be a teacher/lecturer!”
Thank you for supporting ImpactHope and the efforts of KEDHAP as they minister to people living with HIV and AIDS. You are making an impact on many lives.
KEDHAP is the development, peace-building and relief arm of the Kenya Mennonite Church in the Diocese of Kisumu East. One of their major activities is to impact the community through Education. They are involved in assessments, funding over 35 highly qualified secondary school students who are either orphaned or from families in dire poverty (To learn more about KEDHAP’s efforts, click here).