MSF opens first public healthcare and HIV/AIDS programme in Kibera, Kenya

Kenya - On October 21, in collaboration with the Kenyan Ministry of Health, the international humanitarian organization Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) will open a health centre providing public healthcare, including treatment for HIV/AIDS, for the residents of Kibera slum in Nairobi. Kibera is one of the biggest slums in Africa with a population of over 600,000. The new centre it will be the first to give residents direct access to the most basic public healthcare. The centre will provide a full package of basic healthcare as well as comprehensive care for HIV/AIDS, with the programme including out-patient consultations, Mother and Child Healthcare (MCH), family planning, care for victims of sexual and gender based violence, as well as full and free access to HIV/AIDS treatment. Through this project, MSF aims to demonstrate that a full package of quality health care integrating HIV/AIDS can be successfully provided in an urban slum setting. "The population in this densely populated slum is socially and economically extremely vulnerable," explains MSF Head of Mission Christine Jamet, "People live in very precarious conditions where health, sanitation and infrastructure are non-existent. Disease is rife, with the biggest killer in the slum being HIV/AIDS-related diseases." Kibera South Health Centre will officially be opened on the October 21 by Dr. Gikonyo, Chairlady of Nairobi Health Management Board. The opening will be also attended by the Head of the UK Department for International Development (DfID) in Kenya. MSF in Kibera MSF has been working in Kibera since 1997 and started with a patient support centre that included Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) and management of opportunistic infections for people infected with HIV/AIDS. Due to huge demand, MSF had to increase its activities, and currently runs two HIV clinics providing VCT and HIV/AIDS prevention care and treatment with antiretroviral (ARV) drugs. Currently, 650 HIV-positive patients are regularly followed and amongst them more than 150 are receiving ARV treatment. MSF runs similar programmes in other areas of Nairobi, as well as in Busia and Homa Bay.