|The average per capita income in Kitui is less than €2 per day|
|The HIV/AIDs pandemic is devastating the people of Kenya. Even in the remote, rural areas such as Kitui and Mwingi communities are losing their most energetic and capable young people and community projects are being deprived of committee members and community leaders by this pandemic.||
Click to enlarge
Aids statistics for Mutomo region
The Catholic Diocese of Kitui’s involvement:
The HBC (home
based care) programme for HIV/AIDS was started back in 1989
through the initiative of Dr. Frank Engelhard working in Mutomo
hospital. He had observed patients presenting with signs and
symptoms of HIV/AIDS as the Hospital. In 1991 the programme was
initiated at 4 hospitals in the two districts. Immediately
thereafter, collaboration with the Ministry of Health in the
fight against HIV/AIDS began.
|The programme has 2 main goals, which are: to increase access to quality home based care services for Persons Living With Aids (PWAs) and to reduce the risk of infection with STIs and HIV/AIDS. The activities include provision of care and support for those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS, provision of HIV/AIDS pre and post test counselling services, reduction of STI prevalence particularly among the youth through youth programmes, health education and capacity building for staff, community, PWAs, orphans, orphan guardians and care givers, and funding of income generating activities.|
|A meeting of carers for PLWAs at Mutomo Hospital Home Based Care Clinic tell their story for Friends of Kitui|
include the support to Wii Bakery in Kitui Centre with 16
members and Kwodep Vegetable Oil Refinery with 120 members.
The PWAs have been empowered to live positively with HIV/AIDS. Stigma and discrimination has reduced in the community and the hospital workload has significantly decreased. While initially about 50 patients would be admitted in Mutomo Hospital per week,
|this figure has now come to about 30 patients per week. The Wii Bakery is now independent, while the Kwodep group is close to total independence. There has been increased life expectancy for PWAs. One lady has lived positively with HIV/AIDS since 1987. Home-based care services have reduced hospital bed occupancy and enabled the PWAs to live in dignity surrounded by their loved ones.|
|Literature on AIDS prevention and Treatment of HIV infection available at Mutomo Home Based Care Centre|
|Friends of Kitui April 2006 visit to Mutomo Home-based Care Service|
One of the centres for this programme is based at
Mutomo Hospital. From this centre nine outlying clinics are
serviced. Mutomo is at the southern extreme of the Diocese, an
area where rains have failed for the past five seasons. Like so
many other areas, the hospital suffers from water shortages. A
recent attempt to find water by drilling a 100 metre deep
borehole had to be abandoned when no water was found.
Outlying clinics or support groups are at Ikanga (29kms), Kyatune (20kms), Mutha
(38kms), Mathima (20kms), Athi (54kms), Kanziko
(37kms) and Ikuth and Kasaala (50kms). One of the major features
of the aids epidemic is the number of orphans requiring care.
The Mutomo HBC service deals with almost 1500 orphans, and 1300
orphan guardians. In addition support is provided to 150
care-givers, who in turn are looking after people living with
HIV/AIDS (PLWAs). A total of 475 PLWAs are currently registered
with the Mutomo centre alone.
PLWAs require anti-retroviral drug treatment to
control the symptoms of HIV/AIDS infection. ARVT is not free but
the cost has been reduced to a manageable level of approximately
€1.25 per month. While this cost is manageable for most, it
would not be feasible for them to travel to Mutomo Hospital for
treatment- hence the need for a mobile service.
At a meeting with a group of Carers in Mutomo on March 29th
2006, they had two requests for support. The first was for
assistance with school fees and school uniforms. The second was
At a meeting with a group of Carers in Mutomo on March 29th 2006, they had two requests for support. The first was for assistance with school fees and school uniforms. The second was for water
storage tanks at the outlying clinics for
capture and storage of rainwater. The importance of school fees
and school uniforms is twofold. Firstly, if a child can get
access to school, he/she is probably guaranteed
adequate feeding and nutrition for five days of the week-
and the remaining family foodstocks can be divided among the
other family members.
Secondly, school uniforms are often a prerequisite for entry to
school- and once attending school, the uniform minimises “difference” for children who might otherwise suffer
discrimination or stigma due to the HIV/AIDS factor.
|On the same day we visited a group of 32 PLWAs in Ikutha parish centre. These people meet together monthly to share experiences and to access ARV therapy, and to receive treatment for any opportunistic infections the might be suffering from.||
The group ranged in age from the very young to
the very mature. At these monthly sessions the group cook and
eat together, in an expression of solidarity. There is a
practical issue here also, for ARV therapy requires a balanced
and nutritious diet for full efficacy.