On June 3, Kenya’s new ‘National Strategy on HIV and AIDS and STI Programming along Transport Corridors in Africa’ was launched by the National AIDS Control Council (NACC) and the National AIDS and STI Control Programme (NASCOP) with support from the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). North Star Alliance has long been a staunch advocate for the inclusion of mobile populations in national healthcare strategies, and we are delighted to have been one of the stakeholders who cooperated in the drafting process of the new strategy. Moreover, we were glad to be invited to present on the topic of delivering health care to mobile populations during the launch event in Nairobi, a much appreciated acknowledgement of our continued efforts to improve healthcare delivery to these vulnerable groups.
On a regional level, this new strategy marks an important step forward by increasing activities to counter the impact and spread of disease among vulnerable mobile populations along the major transport corridors crossing Kenya and will work to improve conditions for groups like truck drivers, sex workers, men who have sex with men, and the corridor community members. It aims to address the policy gaps that currently make it difficult for government agencies and their partners to deliver effective health care and roll out preventative measures for these groups on a national level.
Although HIV prevalence has shown a relative decline since the beginning of the HIV and AIDS epidemic, by the end of 2011 it stood at 6.2 per cent among Kenyans aged between 15 and 49 years of age. Currently more than 1.6 million people in Kenya are living with HIV, and women represent 59 per cent of those infected.
We believe that the introduction of this new strategy marks a reaffirmation of the government’s dedication to counter disease rates in the transport sector in a way that will benefit health across the country and region and an important next step towards the goal of a healthy and sustainable transport sector in Kenya and East Africa.
For more information, read the official press release from the International Organization for Migration.