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The average per capita income in Kitui is less than €2 per day
 
 
 
 

(Main)

HIV/AIDS

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. Aids Statistics 2.jpg (94257 bytes)   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. 

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A meeting of carers for PLWAs at Mutomo Hospital Home Based Care Clinic tell their story for Friends of Kitui
Examples here 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. 

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Literature on AIDS prevention and Treatment of HIV infection available at Mutomo Home Based Care Centre

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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 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.