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.
Continue reading

Advertisements

KENYA: ARV programmes slowly recovering from post-election crisis

KENYA: ARV programmes slowly recovering from post-election crisis


Photo: Manoocher DEGHATI/IRIN
AMPATH has opened a satellite centre in the Nakuru Showground IDP camp where patients can receive ARVs

ELDORET, 28 April 2008 (PlusNews) – Thousands of Kenyans who dropped out of HIV treatment programmes in January as a result of the country’s post-election violence are gradually returning to clinics and the antiretroviral (ARV) drugs that help prolong their lives.

“Initially more than 90 percent of our patients failed to come for their monthly appointments during which they collect their drugs, but now they are returning slowly,” said Cleophas Chesoli, social work manager for the Academic Model for the Prevention and Treatment of HIV (AMPATH), a research institution linked to Moi University in western Kenya’s Rift Valley town of Eldoret.

At the height of the crisis, AMPATH placed national announcements in the newspapers and on the radio advising clients on the nearest available health facility where they could get ARVs. AMPATH has 67,000 clients, with an estimated 30,000 on treatment; although it is still unclear how many patients missed their doses, Chesoli is hopeful that the chances of patients developing resistance are low.

“We generally give patients as much as six weeks’ worth of medication because many of our patents may not make their monthly consultations due to lack of transport or bus fare, or distance for the nearest centre,” he said.
Continue reading

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

KENYA: Displacement raises risk of drug-resistant TB

KENYA: Displacement raises risk of drug-resistant TB


Photo: Siegfried/IRIN
The national referral hospital has already seen seven new cases of MDR-TB from one IDP camp in the capital, Nairobi

NAIROBI, 2 April 2008 (PlusNews) – The threat of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) has been heightened by the displacement of an estimated 300,000 people in Kenya’s recent political crisis, health workers have said.

“During the violence, many displaced people were disrupted from their lives, which meant disruption from drugs,” said Dr Henderson Irimu, head of the HIV/TB treatment care at the Kenyatta National Hospital, the country’s largest referral hospital. “Due to the violence it was impossible for people to come for medication.”

Irimu said there had been an increase in MDR-TB, a form of the disease that does not respond to standard treatment, usually because of a failure to complete first-line treatment. When patients are co-infected with HIV, it is often lethal.

“So far we have seven new cases of MDR-TB who were brought at the hospital from Mathare internally displaced settlement [in the capital, Nairobi],” he said. “Some would come and admit to not having taken TB medication since the violence began.” Continue reading