Rapid result initiative successful ignition of finding children exposed to HIV
In our INUKA! programme community health volunteers are trained in paediatric HIV case-finding and follow up. Having started in March 2019, we noticed we weren’t reaching our targets as quickly as hoped. We therefore started the INUKA! Rapid Result Initiative to complement the identification of children living with HIV by community health volunteers.
How does it work?
At the start of our work in each new community, INUKA! brings together a group of community health volunteers, a social worker or counsellor, a health care worker to provide HIV testing and a community leader, supported by a member of the staff of our partner WOFAK (Women Fighting AIDS in Kenya). This group kicks off going door-to-door to visit vulnerable households, each member with its own expertise and unique role, making HIV testing accessible and more convenient and building trust in the community. This lays the ground of the case-finding and follow-up by community health volunteers in that community. The joint visits are repeated every month with clear targets. This initiative has really helped in finding children and pregnant women living with HIV and bringing them in care.
Seven months after the start of INUKA!, 55 newly identified HIV infected children were enrolled into care, 10 children living with HIV who had dropped out of care were brought back into care and 27 pregnant mothers living with HIV were brought into antenatal care.
The INUKA! programme
To date, Aidsfonds’ partner WOFAK has trained 38 community health volunteers and 20 community gatekeepers, such as chiefs, religious leaders, traditional birth attendants, and youth leaders in two sub-counties of Homa Bay. They focus on finding children living with HIV between 0-14 years, linking them to care, ensuring they remain in care, virally suppressed. In addition, pregnant women living with HIV are linked to care to avert mother to child transmission. By the end of this year we will have scaled up to the remaining six sub-counties.
The programme is aligned with county and national government to ensure sustainability in health and community systems, as well as country and community ownership once INUKA! ends in 2121.