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Kenya male circumcision program surpasses target by 100,000

KISUMU (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC) programme rolled out in 2009 has surpassed its target.

The National Aids and STI Control Programme (VMMC) Programme Manager Francis Ndwiga said they have surpassed the 940,000 target by about 100,000.

Ndwiga said some of the key factors that led to the success of the programme is the coordination and support from both the government and non-governmental organisations.

"There was also acceptability among the communities that do not practice male circumcision culturally and this made us to surpass the target," he said.

In Nyanza region, where male circumcision is not practiced culturally, there was acceptability among men of between ages 15 and 35 years.

Male circumcision has been scientifically proven to reduce a man’s risk of contracting HIV by 60 per cent and follow-up studies have found that the effectiveness of male circumcision for HIV prevention is maintained for several years.

The Kenya National Aids Control & STI Programme (Nascop) is gearing towards the second phase of the project that is targeting a million people.

The programme is going to shift its focus to infant male circumcision that targets children between 0 to 60 days old. Another targeted group is men of between 14 to 45 years old.

Some of the counties that are being targeted in Kenya include Turkana, Marsabit, West Pokot and Coast.


Kenya concerned at rising number of HIV/ AIDS teenagers

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday decried the alarming number of teenagers suffering silently from HIV/AIDS in the country and who are not on Antiretroviral (ARVs) drugs.

Kenyatta said effective usage of Antiretroviral (ARV) drugs maximally suppresses the HIV virus and stops the progression of HIV disease, noting that the use of ARVs has witnessed the reduction in the rate of death and suffering among victims in Kenya.

"Most maternal deaths are avoidable and indeed preventable.

"My government has a clear vision on healthcare for all Kenyans," Kenyatta said during a two-day Kenya Inter-Religious Consultative Forum on ending maternal deaths in Nairobi.

"In an effort to reduce maternal deaths, my government is providing free maternity services, which has led to an increase in the number of women giving birth at health facilities from 450,000 a year to over 700,000," he said.

Kenyatta commended the dedication of healthcare personnel who work under very difficult circumstances to save the lives of women and babies in the country.

He directed County administrators to help identify HIV/AIDS positive women and teenagers to be placed on life-saving medication, saying it is only prudent that stakeholders join hands to help the victims lead a normal life.

Kenyatta said the Constitution provides health stakeholders with the opportunity to tailor interventions, according to the specific needs of the different communities.

The president said the government prioritizes simple interventions that can effectively address barriers for accessing essential care for pregnant women.

"Simple interventions such as user fees, distance to service delivery points, and lack of qualified birth attendants are within our reach and require priority attention," he added.

He said the government is equipping two health facilities in every county with state of the art medical equipment, to ensure specialized health care is brought closer to the people.

President Kenyatta said the medical equipment provided to county hospitals will also decongest the three national referral hospitals in Nairobi, Eldoret and Kisumu.

He lauded the First lady’s Beyond Zero campaign to provide mobile clinics in all the counties for complementing the impact of government’s health sector reforms in the areas of maternal and newborn health care.

The President encouraged further Partnership between practitioners in health and faith based organizations which manage about 40 percent of the health facilities in the country.

He said religious leaders are at the core of the community and play an important role in shaping its opinions, values and practices.

Cabinet Secretary for Health James Macharia said the move by the Jubilee Government to offer free maternal services coupled with the ‘Beyond Zero’ campaign spearheaded by the First Lady has enabled 80 percent of women to access quality health care.

"We are targeting Kenyans living in slums. In Kibera, we are now witnessing a lot of change. Women in slums are now accessing quality health care services," he said.



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