At least 73,000 residents of Kisii County are living with HIV, with only 15 per cent accessing medical attention, statistics have revealed.
The county is listed alongside Nairobi, Kisumu, Homa Bay, Mombasa and Siaya as the hardest hit by the HIV/Aids pandemic.
Kisii County Medical Director Dr Geoffrey Otomu said advocacy for HIV testing for pregnant women and their partners, attendance of required ante-natal care services, promoting health facility skilled birth delivery and exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months should be encouraged.
“Some of the children have undergone multiple losses as a result of the loss of parents and siblings in close succession, thereby hampering their growth and development and enjoyment of their childhood and even as they approach the turbulent years of teenage hood,” he said.
Speaking recently during the National Aids Control Council (NACC) and Kisii County consultative meeting, County First Lady Elizabeth Ongwae said her office had formed a non-governmental organisation dubbed Soma Support Project.
This will partner with Timiza Trust Initiative, a community-based organisation that is implementing Wezesha, a USAid-funded project that targets orphaned and vulnerable children (OVCs) in Kisii.
According to Ms Ongwae, the group has identified 252 primary schools and 50 secondary schools where they are offering counselling to OVCs and children living with HIV/Aids.
The National Demographic and Health Survey 2011 indicated that Kisii has 5,480 new HIV infections annually.