Bridging the gap of unmet contraceptive needs and cancer screening among HIV-infected women

Joshua Adhola, a Huduma Poa demand creation officer offers a health talk at Osani Heallth Centre during an event day.

Joshua Adhola, a Huduma Poa demand creation officer offers a health talk at Osani Heallth Centre during an event day.

“Three years ago, Kenya was ranked the fourth country with the highest HIV epidemic in the world. Although HIV prevalence among the general population has fallen in Kenya, women continue to be disproportionately affected by the epidemic.

Homa Bay County where I work as a Demand Creation Officer records the highest HIV incidence rate in the country with a prevalence rate of 27.1 percent compared to the national average of 5.6 percent according to the 2012 Kenya Aids Indicator Survey Report (KAIS).

The survey also indicates that 6.9 percent of women were living with HIV compared with 4.2 percent of men. With these facts in mind, most health interventions in the county therefore focus on reducing the prevalence rate.

Located in Ndhiwa Sub County, approximately 45 kilometers from Homa bay town is Osani Community Health Centre which is one of the health facilities in the County that offer comprehensive care to HIV clients.

Client queue to receive health services at Osani Community Hospital

Client queue to receive health services at Osani Community Hospital

Being a member of the Huduma Poa social franchise some of the other core services offered at the facility include family planning; HIV Testing and Counseling; and Prevention of Mother to Child transmission of HIV.

The nurse in charge of the facility acknowledges that since they joined the franchise in 2012, clients accessing family planning services have been on a steady rise which she attributed to the Huduma Poa event days.

Despite the gains, there had been a forgotten group in provision of family planning and cervical cancer screening services. Initially the facility attended to HIV positive client who are on care and treatment without any deliberate attempt to directly involve them in the activities of the event days.

Conversely during the last quarter (October –December, 2014), clients from the HIV care and treatment centre were involved in the event days that were held in the facility. The change of tact resulted to more women who are aware of their HIV status receiving implants and other contraceptives as well as cervical cancer screening.

As we get into a new year we purpose to strengthen the ‘Supermarket approach’ so that HIV care and treatment and reproductive and child health services are not seen as independent services in the facilities but mutually inter-dependent. Going by the lessons of the last quarter, attempts to deliberately target known positives should be scaled up.

This will be in tandem with Kenya Aids Indicator Survey Report (2012) which recommends that, efforts should be directed at further reducing the unmet need for family planning, with a focus on HIV-infected women and that there is need to scale up cervical cancer screening in women of reproductive age— among both HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected.

By Joshua Adhola, Demand Creation Officer, KMET

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