Health Services in eastern and central Kenya are getting a big boost through a new $100 million dollar program. The U.S. development agency, USAID, has awarded the funds to an international non-profit organization affiliated with Johns Hopkins University.
For the past four years, Jhpiego has led a nearly $34 million program in eastern Kenya called APHIA II. APHIA stands for AIDS, Population and Health Integrated Assistance. The goal is to “empower front-line health workers” with effective, low cost solutions to delivering quality health care.
“The work that began in 2006 and which ended in 2010 December, led by Jhpiego, was tasked with the responsibility of building a linkage between the community and the hospitals in Kenya, particularly the part of Kenya that is called the Eastern Province. Eastern Province is an area of about 6 million Kenyans with diverse challenges in terms of health,” says Dr. Ken Chebet.
Chebet says those challenges included low immunization rates, a lack of family planning services, little awareness among the local population of their HIV status and a large number of orphans and vulnerable children.
APHIA II made progress on all fronts. As a result, USAID is awarding $100 million dollars to Jhpiego to launch the APHIAPLUS Health Service Delivery project. It’s a partnership between the U.S. and the Kenyan government that will expand health services in both Eastern and Central provinces.
Dr. Chebet, who is in charge, says, “We are excited as an organization, Jhpiego, to win this new award. It’s been an exciting period for us.”
The APHIAPLUS project enlists – what’s called – “a consortium of Kenyan partners to integrate a range of health services, products and information at all levels.”
The Kenyan population will have the chance to know their HIV status. This support will go into testing for HIV and AIDS. A greater part of this support will also be able to put a number of our Kenyan pop (population) that are currently positive on ARV (antiretroviral) drugs. We hope to manage close to half a million orphans and vulnerable children.
Chebet describes it as a new health implementation framework.
“So, the support is basically going to fill into the gaps that have been identified by the Kenyan government, in what we call a 5 year strategic plan in terms of a health network. So, it fills into a gap that we could not be able to afford as a government. It will basically consolidate a national outreach. It relates to services going right up to the village level,” he says.
Jhpiego began its work 35 years ago. It now operates in more than 140 countries.