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New online tool launched to boost war against HIV

By Daniel Psirmoi | September 18th 2015 at 12:00:00 GMT +0300

President Uhuru Kenyatta (centre) launches the Kenya HIV Situation Room at Kenyatta International Convention Centre. The tool will help track progress in the fight against HIV and Aids. [Photo: PSCU]

President Uhuru Kenyatta Thursday launched an innovative digital application that will monitor Kenya's progress in the war against HIV and Aids.

'The Kenya HIV situation room', will provide up-to-date information on the number of people living with the HIV virus and give information on availability of anti-retroviral drugs in medical facilities across the country.

Policy makers and stakeholders in the health sector will be able to get a national picture of the HIV an Aids situation in the country from the system that draws its data from several independent sub-systems, including the public sector, counties and health facilities.

The President will also be able to personally monitor the progress the country is making in the fight against the pandemic using the new tool. He will get monthly updates on the HIV and Aids situation and the progress of the mitigation measures through the application which can be installed in tablets and personal computers.

Uhuru and Health CS James Macharia led stakeholders from the health sector and a number of diplomats in launching the system at KICC in Nairobi.

At the click of a button, users of the new tool can tell how many people are infected with HIV and Aids in a certain town, how many are on medication and what amount of medicine is available in the local health facility.

The application, the first of its kind in the world, was developed by the National Aids Control Council and Ministry of Health in collaboration with UNAids with the support of the Japanese government.

Speaking during the launch at KICC, which was attended by stakeholders from the health sector and a number of diplomats, the Head of State said his government is now focusing on fighting the spread of HIV among adolescents and young people.

"In our past campaigns to reduce the HIV and Aids prevalence our focus majorly has been on adults, where we reached over 800,000 and put them on ARV's, averting over 500,000 deaths. But our young people have been left behind.

Whereas we reached over 80 per cent of adults who need ARVs, we only reached less than half of young people with the condition," he explained.

Mr Kenyatta said the youth play a critical role in nation building and much more needs to be done to protect them from the pandemic and assist those who already have been infected by HIV to manage the condition.

The President, who also unveiled a plan to end the spread of HIV among adolescents, said it is only a matter of time before the country manages the scourge.

"Our revolutionary Kenya HIV and Aids prevention roadmap is clear. If we adopt an approach targeting population, location and risk profiles, we will avert over 1.1 million new infections, over 760,000 deaths, 11,000 of this being children," he said.

"This plan will ensure 80 per cent of Kenya adolescents and youth are tested and aware of their HIV status," said Uhuru, who added that the Government will enroll an additional 130,000 children into ARV therapy and scale up implementation of the HIV curriculum in all secondary schools.

He said the fight against the pandemic requires joint efforts as it cannot be won by the Government alone and appealed to more development partners to work together with the State to stop new infections.

Executive Director of UNAids Michel Sidebe and US Ambassador Robert Godec lauded Kenya's war against HIV.

"We are impressed that Kenya has witnessed tremendous reduction in the number of new infection in the last few years by 74 per cent and reduction of HIV and Aids related deaths by an almost similar percentage. This is amazing," said Mr Sidebe.

Godec said his country has partnered with Kenya over the years in the health sector and will continue doing so.

"In recent years, one of our most important shared goal is to realise a world free of HIV and Aids. And today's launch brings us closer to the realisation of our goal. We have seen progress in the prevention and treatment of the condition from 36,000 in 2005 to nearly 800,000 this year," he said.

HIV and Aids Uhuru Kenyatta National Aids Control Council
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