By Beryl Okendo and Faith Lawino.
The Centre for Disease Control (CDC); CDC Atlanta, CDC Western, and CDC Nairobi, visited Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital.
The team, accompanied by the Center for International, Health, Education, and Biosecurity( CIHEB) and Child Health and Mortality Prevention Surveillance (CHAMPS) held a meeting that was geared towards deliberating on matters about the ongoing Operation Triple Zero (OTZ), the state of COVID 19 vaccination campaigns/ administration and to evaluate the state of childcare and pediatric health within the Obama Children Hospital.
The evaluative meeting was centered on learning how the ongoing OTZ program has impacted adherence to medication and resilience among adolescents living with HIV. The OTZ program which acts as a haven to about 345 adolescents living with HIV, is an operation meant to ensure that they have zero missed medical appointments, zero missed medication, and zero viral loads, hence the name triple zero.
The program was pioneered at JOOTRH by International Centre for AIDS Care and Treatment Program (ICAP) in 2019 after the national government launched the ‘Triple Zero’ initiative in 2018 targeting adolescents living with HIV/AIDS. Part of the initiative’s goal is to end stigma as well as to ensure medication adherence to reduce viral load.
The program has been successful as attested to by the youths present and whose life stories are full of possibilities that were impossible before joining the program at JOOTRH. The initiative has enabled them to accept their statuses and lives hopefully and stigma-free. The program has also helped them to be courageous enough to attain equal relevance in the ever-changing competitive world by completing studies and finding their purposes in life.
The challenges of teenage pregnancy and lack of psychosocial support were however not left unmentioned. It was therefore noted that there is an urgent need for education on sex and reproduction among teenagers living with HIV. A psychological counselor was also needed to help the youths cope with the daily challenges by encouraging and giving them psychological support. CIHEB partners with JOOTRH in the Operation Triple Zero program and has an outlined initiative dabbed ‘Entrench’ which focuses on Supporting comprehensive HIV prevention, Care &Treatment Service Delivery in Kisumu and Migori counties.
Dr. Denise Cardo, the Ag. Director of the Centre for Global Health (CGH), Vivian Chao and Laureen Erickson Mamane who also accompanied the CDC team raised a concern about COVID-19 vaccination for PLWHIV. This led the delegation to the JOOTRH covid 19 vaccination center where the activity was ongoing even for the general public. In this regard, the CIHEB team expressed that they have an existing COVID-19 vaccine rollout program that has so far carried out Key Activities like Capacity building for multiple vaccine deployment ( MVD), Household enumeration and vaccination, Logistics support, Community outreaches and facility in-reaches, Integration into CCC and other service delivery points, Operationalization of M-Chanjo system and Support Supervision.
It also highlighted its other programs such as the ‘TRACK’ program which aims to support vaccination activities at a national level across Nairobi, Kisumu, Siaya, Migori, HomaBay, Busia, Nyeri, and Mombasa counties, ‘ PACT Imara’ which aims at Supporting comprehensive HIV Prevention, Care & Treatment Service Delivery in Machakos, Kitui, & Makueni and the ‘USAID Stawisha Pwani’ which also aims at Supporting comprehensive HIV Prevention, Care & Treatment Service Delivery in Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi, & Taita Taveta.
The courtesy visit came to a round-up at the Obama Children’s Hospital where child health and child mortality prevention wrapped up the day. CHAMPS, to Track definitive causes of stillbirths and child deaths in high-mortality areas in Africa and South Asia, also highlighted its objectives. The CHAMPS activities at JOOTRH have been objectively aimed at reducing child mortality and improving pediatric health through the Production and dissemination of high-quality data to inform policy and public health actions.
JOOTRH recognizes and appreciates the efforts of different partners and stakeholders who have defied all odds to ensure the realization of its mission towards excellence in healthcare provision.