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VCT: Shaban passes the ball to leaders

NAIROBI, December 1 – Special programmes Minister Naomi Shaban has stressed the need for leaders to be in the front row in the AIDS awareness campaign by going for Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT).

She pointed out on Monday that doing this would help reduce the prevalence of the HIV virus among Kenyans.

“I wish to call upon each one of you to ensure that they take the HIV test, and if possible, it should be taken today,” stressed the Minister during celebrations to mark World Aids Day.

“Leaders must be at the forefront. We must lead by example. It is not practical for us to tell people to take care without showing them the way,” she aded.

At the same time, Medical Services Assistant Minister Danson Mungatana said that there were over 230,000 Kenyans under anti- retroviral drug treatment.

“We want to appeal to Kenyans in general to unite in the fight against the virus,” he said. “And to those who have been affected, let us join hands and help them live fuller lives.”

He is however urging other Kenyans not to discriminate against those affected by the virus.

“If we discriminate against these people then we will have done wrong. Let us play together, let us work together, let us eat together,” Mr Mungatana stressed.

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He further advocated for faithfulness as a way of reducing the HIV/AIDS scourge.

“If you are playing football, play in the field. Don’t keep going offside all the time because if the whistle blows my brother, it will be the final whistle,” Mr Mungatana said adding: “So if you know you are playing, play within your jurisdiction.”

Meanwhile Medical Services Minister Professor Anyang Nyongo has announced plans by his ministry to integrate voluntary council and testing services in all health centers.

Professor Nyongo said that VCT centers have been isolated thus making people to shy away from visiting them for the services.

He stated that many people have not opted to go for HIV testing due to the locations of the VCT centers.

He further stressed that the government will improve diagnostic systems in all the health care centers in the country.

The Minister further stated that hospitals from the sub districts would be equipped with ultra sound machines to improve in the diagnosis.

Speaking in his Kisumu rural constituency during the celebration to mark World AIDS Day, he emphasised the need to eliminate stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.

He added that hospitals will be able to test high blood pressure, diabetes amongst others alongside HIV/Aids in the hospitals to fight stigma after the integration.

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