KENYA: Camp conditions harsh for HIV-positive displaced people

KENYA: Camp conditions harsh for HIV-positive displaced people

Photo: Manoocher Deghati/IRIN
IDPs have insufficient food, soap and warm clothing in the camps

NAKURU, 29 April 2008 (PlusNews) – Harsh living conditions and the onset of the cold rainy season in Kenya are making it increasingly difficult for HIV-positive people displaced in the recent post-election violence to stay healthy, according to health workers in the camps.

“The main difficulty is getting a good balanced diet,” said Ancilla Kemunto, a government community healthcare worker at the largest camp for internally displaced people [IDPs] in the Rift Valley town of Nakuru. “Although, like other IDPs, they [HIV-positive people] get the WFP [United Nations World Food Programme] rations, they are not nutritious or large enough to keep them healthy.”

The situation is all the more worrying, given Kenya’s looming food crisis after a poor rainy season between October and December, and the impact of the post-election crisis on agriculture, in which tens of thousands of farmers, casual labourers and food traders were displaced.

The post-election violence started in early January 2008 after presidential elections were held on 27 December 2007, and continued until an agreement was signed on 28 February, usually the peak of the agricultural season.
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KENYA: Sexual violence continues in IDP camps

KENYA: Sexual violence continues in IDP camps

NAKURU, 4 March 2008 (PlusNews) – Residents in a camp for displaced persons in Nakuru, in Rift Valley Province, western Kenya, were deeply shocked when a gang of men attacked and sexually assaulted five boys, but the health officials dealing with sexual violence during the recent political upheaval have had to become immune.

“Since the violence started we are seeing similar numbers of cases to what we would normally see over the same timespan, but there is one major difference: 90 percent of the cases we are seeing since the political crisis began are gang rapes,” said Lucy Kiama, head of the Gender Violence Recovery Centre at the Nairobi Women’s Hospital. “The gangs range from groups of two men to as many as eleven.”

An estimated 300 women have been treated for rape since the year began, many of them women and girls who had travelled from Rift Valley Province to the capital, Nairobi, often a journey of hundreds of kilometres that could take many hours by bus. Continue reading

Health experts fear HIV crisis for uprooted Kenyans – 30 Jan 08

Health experts fear HIV crisis for uprooted Kenyans
30 Jan 2008 11:02:02 GMT

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Source: Reuters

By Laura MacInnis GENEVA, Jan 30 (Reuters) – Thousands of uprooted Kenyans are not getting the HIV medicines they need to survive, and rising sexual attacks in camps stand to further spread the disease, public health experts say. About 15,000 of the more than 250,000 people who have fled political, ethnic and revenge attacks in the month since Kenya’s disputed presidential election are HIV-positive, according to Kenyan Health Ministry figures cited by UNAIDS. Of that group, 2,550 were taking anti-retroviral therapy to suppress the virus that causes AIDS before escalating violence forced them out of their homes and cut off their access to the drugs that must be taken continuously to work. An unknown additional number of HIV patients are marooned in their homes, missing treatments because local health clinics are closed, or because they are too afraid to risk the journey. “We don’t know where our patients are,” Florence Muli-Musiime, deputy director-general of the Kenya-based African Medical and Research Foundation, said in a statement. “We had a very good tracking system using our contacts in the community, but this has now broken down,” she said. Elisabeth Byrs, a spokeswoman for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Geneva, said Kenya’s HIV crisis could become much more acute unless tensions calm soon.

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