A healthy future for 3000 children living with HIV in Western Kenya. That’s what the INUKA! programme stands for. INUKA! is a Swahili word meaning Arise! and that is exactly what is going to happen. We are going to empower communities so they will arise and be able to take up social and financial support for the well-being of children living with HIV in their communities.
Early 2019 Aidsfonds and women’s organisation Women Fighting AIDS in Kenya (WOFAK) have started the INUKA! programme in Homa Bay in Western Kenya. The INUKA! program is developed to:
• to find and bring to and retain in care 3000 children living with HIV between the age of 0-14 years who are not yet in care.
• to monitor those children already in care to ensure ART initiation, retention and viral suppression
• to reduce the number of Mother-To-Child-HIV-transmission by supporting 3,600 pregnant women living with HIV.
All with the ultimate aim of no more children dying of AIDS.
We aim for the INUKA! community based intervention model to be scaled up by government and other partners in the event that it demonstrates the expected results.
Homa Bay County
INUKA! will specifically address the barriers faced in the community to find and bring to and retain in care children living with HIV, by strengthening community structures and improving links between communities and health facilities. INUKA! is designed to promote a continuum of care between services in the PMTCT- paediatric HIV cascade through the use of dedicated community-based health care workers that serve as the bridge between clinical services and service utilization of every step in the PMTCT- paediatric HIV cascade and the community. This is critical to attain the goal of ensuring that every baby or child living with HIV has access to treatment and remains in care.
INUKA! has the following project objectives:
• Mobilize and educate communities on paediatric HIV and PMTCT
• Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being of children living with HIV between 0-14 years
• Economically empower households and community health volunteers to ensure retention to care of children living with HIV.
• Sustaining and scaling the INUKA! community intervention model
children living with HIV (0-14 years); pregnant women living with HIV
Kenya has an estimated population of 51 million (UNFPA, 2019), 40% of which is below the age of 15 years. Kenya has the joint fourth-largest HIV epidemic in the world with an adult prevalence rate of 4.8% and over 1.5 million people living with HIV. Of the 1.5 million people living with HIV in Kenya, 105,000 are children aged 0-14 years. Children aged 0-14 years account for 15% of all new infections (8,000 new infections in 2017) and for 15% of all AIDS related deaths (NASCOP, 2018). Due to progress in scaling up access to HIV testing and treatment services mortality rates have declined, but still more than 4,300 children die from AIDS-related illnesses annually (NASCOP, 2018).
Western Kenya is one of the regions most affected by the HIV epidemic. Homa Bay county, where INUKA! is implemented, has a population of 1,101,901, of which 47% are children below 15 years (2015 KNBS Population Projections). The HIV prevalence in Homa Bay is more than four times higher than the national prevalence at 26.0% (Kenya HIV Estimates 2015). An estimated 10,722 children living with HIV lived in the county in 2017 (Ministry of Health, 2018). New HIV infections among children in Kenya are concentrated in high prevalence counties in Kenya, including Homa Bay with 700 new infections among children in 2017 (Ministry of Health, 2018). Of all AIDS related deaths among children in 2017, the majority took place in Homa Bay county, with 420 children dying that year.