Empowering Kenyans for better health
PATH’s innovative work makes us a leader in efforts to improve public health
For two decades, PATH has been helping Kenya’s health care sector improve services and strengthen community networks while empowering Kenyans to adopt healthier lifestyles. Because half of Kenya’s population is less than 25 years old and the country has a high rate of HIV infection, we built our core strengths in adolescent and reproductive health and in programming to address HIV/AIDS. More recently, we’ve expanded our programs to address a range of critical health issues, including high rates of infant and child deaths. Our extensive work in Kenya now makes us PATH’s largest country-based program. We offer Kenya technical expertise, management of comprehensive and collaborative projects, and development of new approaches to address challenging health problems.
Fostering healthy behaviors
Our program in Kenya has built a rich store of methods to decrease risky behavior and increase awareness of reproductive health and gender issues. Our innovative approaches toward promoting healthy behavior range from community performances called magnet theater, to a youthful lifestyle brand called G-PANGE, to offering merit badges for scouts. PATH also supports counseling and testing for HIV and manages support groups for people living with HIV/AIDS and for orphans and vulnerable children. With PATH’s support, by 2010 nearly 1.46 million people in our project areas had taken part in HIV testing and counseling and had learned how to prevent HIV infection and access treatment.
We continue to identify innovative strategies to reduce both HIV/AIDS infection and unsafe behaviors in high-risk populations. In collaboration with the US Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we launched a nationwide program to target a previously neglected group—the more than 100,000 nonmilitary uniformed forces—with services for prevention, care, and treatment for tuberculosis, as well as HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.
Integrating HIV/AIDS and other health services
Building on our expertise in HIV/AIDS and adolescent and reproductive health, PATH is the lead partner in the largest health integration project in East Africa. The AIDS Population Health Integrated Assistance (APHIAplus) project, which is being implemented in Western and Nyanza Provinces by PATH and our partners, is dramatically increasing the number of people reached with integrated services for maternal and child health, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. We’re also addressing the underlying causes of ill health.
Improving maternal and child health
Integration of care is critical to improving the health of mothers and children. We’re building the ability of health clinics to provide a range of services to women and their babies, including antenatal and postnatal care; prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV; HIV counseling, testing, and treatment; childhood vaccinations; tuberculosis screening; malaria services; cervical cancer screening; and family planning. By providing these services within maternal and child health clinics, our program is creating a more conducive and less stigmatizing environment for women to access services for HIV and reproductive health. In some areas, our work has led to a 30 to 40 percent increase in use of services.
In addition, we’re increasing the production and consumption of healthy foods. Our projects range from teaching organic farming to providing orange-fleshed sweetpotatoes—a good source of vitamin A—to pregnant women.
Controlling diarrheal diseases
To increase attention on fighting diarrheal disease, we joined with Kenya’s Ministry of Health to devise a new national framework for diarrheal disease control that emphasizes community-based approaches. We also evaluated the potential of rotavirus vaccine in Kenya, which the country plans to introduce in the near future. We’re also supporting the introduction of the rotavirus vaccine in Kenya. Finally, to reduce the incidence of diarrhea, we’re increasing access to improved water supplies, enhancing community water projects, and improving sanitation and hygiene.
Banner photo: PATH/Evelyn Hockstein.