Over 30,000 adolescents, mostly within the Kisumu, Homa Bay and Nyamira counties, have benefited from the Zipline and the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EFAF) partnership that commenced early this year.
This was disclosed by Zipline’s Technical Lead for Global Health, Caleb Wanjala, during the sideline of the 2023 World AIDS Day celebrations at Ndiru, Homa Bay County.
According to Wanjala, EJAF partnered with Zipline for an innovative program to expand young people’s access to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services through decentralized, service delivery.
“Our innovative partnership with EJAF has so far reached an impressive 32,000 adolescents. We have been working with several community-based organizations to mobilize young people for health and non-health activities alike,” he said adding that “It is refreshing to see a number of counties, including Kisumu, Homa Bay and Nyamira, integrating on-site mobile clinical services and counting on Zipline to supply family planning, HIV testing, PrEP, ARVs, and other Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) commodities through its instant logistics solution.”
In addition, Wanjala said “Such community events have been a way of decentralizing and easing the challenge of stigmatization of HIV patients”.
Large HIV response
Western Kenya has hosted a large HIV response for decades, with massive community-level health education and demand-generation activities. Yet young people often fail to follow up with action to manage their health when it requires visiting a health facility.
Bringing integrated SRH care directly into communities can eliminate young people-reported barriers to health access.
The Homa Bay County Chief Officer for Health Dr Kevin Osuri, expressed the hope that such partnerships are very significant for the reduction of the HIV/AIDS menace within the county.
“The Zipline and EJAF support has, so far, been impressive. We will, in the coming days, execute a full MoU with them given that they have, for the past few months, demonstrated a huge potential for our work within our HIV activities,” Dr Osuri ssid.
“Cumulatively and through their support, we have seen a decline of infection rates down to 15 percent in 2022 from the 17 percent recorded in 2021.”
Zipline is also delivering refills of self-tests, contraceptives, and medication to local, convenient, private pickup sites. This decentralized model of care places more choices into the hands of young people, with the goal of significantly reducing HIV transmission among this age group.