Nairobi, December 1, 2015- Amref Health Africa, organised an Adolescent HIV Symposium on 25th November 2015 at our Headquarter offices in Nairobi to fast-track plans to end HIV/Aids among adolescents and young people.
Speaking during the symposium, Dr Githinji Gitahi, Amref Health Africa Group CEO said,
“As Amref Health Africa, we believe the youth are our future and has been at the forefront of partnering with various stakeholders to implement various projects targeting the youth, mothers and children in the African continent.”
He further added,
“We equip communities with the knowledge, skills and means to maintain their good health and break the cycle of poor health and poverty.”
According to WHO, AIDS is the leading cause of death in Africa and the second largest cause of death amongst adolescents globally; 16% of the 1.6 million people living with HIV/AIDS in Kenya are adolescents. 70% of infected adolescents are girls; 3 in 10 new infections in Kenya are among youth aged 15-24.
Amref Health Africa implements projects targeting the youth, mothers and children in the African continent and it is unacceptable to lose over 25 young people every day due to HIV/AIDS in Kenya, because Amref Health Africa believes that the youth are the future partner.
The bulk of HIV infections occur in resource-poor settings where the youths are faced with a myriad of other challenges including poverty, lack of education, lack of economic empowerment, drugs and substance abuse, sexual abuse, gender based violence, and crime.
Dealing with youth vulnerabilities is therefore critical given that youth are the drivers of any economy thus Amref Health Africa facilitates provision of integrated HIV prevention, care and support services as per the national guidelines in resource poor settings. The organistion engages adolescents by offering them life skills and information suited to their needs through scheduled forums.
Also speaking during the symposium was Dr Nduku Kilonzo, Director, National Aids and Control Council who spoke highly about stigmatisation saying,
“Refusing to accept your HIV status is perpetrating HIV and AIDS stigma.”
Amref Health Africa therefore promotes economic empowerment, alternative rites of passage programmes to keep girls in school, sexual reproductive health education and cervical cancer screening among others. The organisation engages communities in all the 47 counties in Kenya through an extensive network of community health volunteers who have been trained and are accredited by the Ministry of Health.
These community health volunteers have been able to create demand for health services that essentially lead to better outcomes in HIV/AIDS prevention and control.
As envisioned in the Kenya’s fast-track plan to end HIV/AIDS among adolescents and young people, attainment of Kenya’s Vision 2030 is dependent on harnessing dividends from the youth population. Amref Health Africa commits to work closely with Ministry of Health – NACC and NASCOP and other stakeholders in engaging our youths to fast-track the HIV response to end new HIV infections, AIDS related deaths and stigma and discrimination in adolescents and young people.
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About Amref Health Africa
Amref Health Africa is an international African organisation founded and headquartered in Kenya. Amref Health Africa began in 1957 as the Flying Doctors of East Africa to provide critical medical assistance to remote communities in East Africa. Today, Amref Health Africa works with the most vulnerable African communities through its country programmes in Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda, and its Southern and West Africa regional hubs. Through its laboratory, clinical outreach and training programmes, Amref Health Africa reaches an additional 30 plus countries in Africa. With over half a century of experience in delivering health care and building health systems in Africa, Amref Health Africa supports those at the heart of the communities, particularly women and children, to bring about lasting health improvement. For more information please visit www.Amref.org