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KRCS Head of Global Fund Program Emily Muga (pictured) said the funding will strengthen the response to the disease/FILE/KBC

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Red Cross kicks off Sh7.5bn project to accelerate HIV suppression efforts

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 25 – The Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) has kicked off a Sh7.5 billion to accelerate the country’s response to HIV.

Three-year program funded by the Global Fund will be rolled out in 46 counties.

KRCS Head of Global Fund Program Emily Muga said the funding will strengthen the response to the disease.

Muga said the implementation team has worked on a plan for the roll out of interventions in the counties.

“We are meeting here to discuss how we are going to manage our implementation and interventions across all the counties, we are actually working in 46 counties,” she told news reported in Kisumu on Friday at the end of a training session for KRCS staff tasked with the implementation of the project.

Muga said the initiative will target those living with HIV to provide them with care and ensure adherence to antiretroviral drugs (ARVs).

“We will ensure they are first tested for HIV, link to treatment, adhering to treatment or retention in care,” she said.

Muga said Red Cross is keen on adherence to drugs since that offers viral suppression and leads to no more new infections.

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She said the country will record no new infections if viral suppression is achieved through strict adherence to medication.

Muga said the Red Cross had lined up engagements with adolescents, pregnant mothers and key populations in the fight against new infections.

“The other aspect is looking for mothers who are pregnant and are HIV positive to ensure we eliminate the transmission from mother to child infections,” she said.

Among the key populations that are vulnerable to HIV, includes sex workers, men who have sex with men, the transgender population and people who inject drugs.

Muga said this group’s behavior predisposes them to new infections and the program has prevention and gives them information commodities to enable them to prevent new infections amongst them.

She noted that the program strives to ensure the country’s Strategic AIDS Framework goals and objectives are achieved by 2025.

“The goal is universal health care for the people living with HIV to ensure that all of them have access to treatment,” she said.

Muga said the objectives of the framework includes, reduce new infection by 50 percent, to reduce AIDs related mortality by 75 percent and to reduce stigma and discrimination down to 25 percent.

Embu County has been exempted from the program for what Muga termed as statistical reasons.

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“In terms of prioritizing key population treatment care and support, we look at the amount of money that has been provided and the result framework for the government and we pick the counties that have the most needs,” she said.

Kenya Red Cross Western Regional Chairperson Bob Madanji who presided over the closing of the training session on behalf of Kisumu Governor Prof Anyang Nyong’o called for prudent use of the funds for the betterment of the people.

“This is a grant which must always be managed transparently and accurately,” he said.

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