Activity Report Kenya 2010

International employees: 3

Local employees: 4

HIV/AIDS, infectious diseases, malnutrition, mother and child care

Kenya belongs among the countries with low income and a food deficit, its GDP is 1,242 USD per capita (World Bank data, 2007). In the UNDP Human Development Index statistic, Kenya was among the countries with average human development in 2007 and it ranked in the 148 place among the developing countries (total 177 countries). The country is especially vulnerable to repeated natural disasters (draughts, floods), it is affected by poluted water sources and advancing deforestation. It also has a relatively high, though decreasing HIV and AIDS occurence, according to 2006 data about 4.6% (average statistic for the whole country). Since 2001 the numbers of infected persons were between 1.3 and 1.5 million, in 2007 (despite the decreasing rate of occurence but due to significant increase in population) this nuber increased to 1.5 to 2 million persons. According to last estimates from 2007, there are 1.5 to 2 milion people with HIV/AIDS in Kenya, which amounts to almost 5% of the population. In that, 130–180 thousand are children under 14 and 800 thousand to 1,1 million are women of childbearing age above 15 years. Women account for up to 60% of infected adult population above 15 years of age.

The level of HIV/AIDS occurence in the adult population (15 to 49 years) is 8–10%. The South-east province of Nyanza, where MAGNA operates, has the highest occurrence in the Nairobi area, where women are 2/3 of the infected population. Directly in the Kombewa district, where we cooperate with the partner district hospital, the occurrence rate is 7.8%. The comparatively high prevalence rate also stems from the fact that historicaly the Nyanza province is a politically and economically marginalized area, which was due to past political circumstances significantly impoverished. About 1.2 million newborn children and 9% of pregnant women were infected with HIV/AIDS. It is estimated that over 100 thousand children had been exposed to HIV (HIV exposed children) and with estimated mother to child transfer rate of 40% at least 40 thousand of these newborn children are HIV positive. The sttistic also shows, that 47% of HIV positive women who gave birth in the last years were tested for HIV as part of antenatal care.

These numbers stress the importance of providing programns to prevent the mother to child transmission (PMTCT), that are able to detect HIV-positive pregnant women even before the childbirth, so that necessary PMTCT and antiretroviral treatment can be started before a baby is born. The situation is complicated by the fact that the majority of the population (83%) in Kenya is not aware of their HIV status. High prices of food are significant in the everyday life of the Kenyans. An estimated 5.6 million people face uncertainty about everyday food supplies due to the rise in prices of food and fuel. To overcome the price increase every day, people must decrease daily food intake or buy cheap, available food. There are many critical cases of malnutrition. As far as 25% of children suffer from acute malnutrition in some Kenyan districts. Approximately 31% of children under the age of 5 shows insufficient growth development and about 20% suffer from malnutrition. The level of stunted growth development and underweight children is about 10% higher in the countryside than in urban areas. Furthermore, 3 in 4 children in the abovementioned age are anemic, along with 50% of women and one in 5 men. Almost half of Kenya’s children under the age of 5 and women in the reproductive age also face lack of zinc.

The lack of vitamin A is prominent among children and women in general, along with specific subgroups of men. Significant problems in terms of public health are caused by a wide lack of many microelements and also by the lack of vitamin A, zinc and iron. Estimations say that the deaths of more than 23 thousand children are connected with increased predisposition to infections which is caused by the lack of vitamin A and that about 70% of children in Kenya grow up with reduced immunity. In general we can say that the nutrition situation of the population in Kenya is still desperate. MAGNA Children at Risk has started its activity in Kenya in 2006, when its project activities were realized in the Nyanza province. After more than 3 years in 2010, MAGNA closed its project in the Kisumu district, because this project had fulfilled its main goals – to strengthen and increase the efficiency of health care system for HIV positive patients in the Kombewa and Nyahera districts. After research, MAGNA has relocated its mission to the Coast province, which is the eastern part of Kenya. In the first months of 2010, MAGNA in cooperation with local partners has carried out an evaluation of MAGNA’s operations in Kenya so far. A thorough analysis of achieved results and comparisons of start and output situation were the basis for evaluation of MAGNA’s HIV and nutritional programs in the district hospital of Kombewa and the Nyahera health care center. At the same time, employees were evaluated, their contribution to individual project activities, as well as recommendations for new programs realization. For MAGNA, its employees, partners and mainly beneficiaries are an important and valued source of information. “Lessons learned” are valuable knowledge, which MAGNA has been using in the realization of further projects in Kenya.

In 2010 MAGNA’s team has visited the areas of southeastern Kenya, specifically the Coast province, where a survey of the region was carried out in cooperation with state representatives of NACC a PASCO. The meetings and visits of health centers in the Coast province led to identification and assessment of local population’s needs with focus on health care, nutrition and social needs. MAGNA is using a multisectoral approach for selecting of the location for projects’ realisation, which not only increases the effectiveness but also the sustainability of activities.

The Msambweni district has been selected for the future operation of MAGNA, it is a district bordering with Tanzania. It is an area with bad access and long distance to the nearest city, Mombassa. The access to health care is limited and medical and nutrition care has been provided only to a limited extent. In 2010, MAGNA in cooperation with Kenyan partners (DMOH Msambweni, DASCO Msambweni, NACC Mombasa) has prepared a project focused on extending health care to HIV positive patients as well as nutrition care for malnourished children in the district hospital of Msambweni, Lunga Lunga hospital and Vitsangalaweni. The project aims to provide comprehensive health and social care for more than 3,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in the Msambweni district and Kwale and Kenya districts. Its main goal is to ensure a good life for newborns without HIV infection and improve the quality of life for mothers and children with HIV and adults suffering with HIV/AIDS. We want to achieve this goal by decreasing the occurrence of mother to child transmission of HIV, improving and supervising ARV treatment for child and adult patients, extending nutrition support to HIV positive children (outpatient basis) as well as all hospitalized child patients in the Msambweni hospital. The project will be using a network of 22 small health centers that are directly linked to the main Msambweni hospital and will be part of a comprehensive prevention system as well as a follow up and treatment system for mothers with children.

MAGNA Children at Risk has been operating in Kenya since 2007

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