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Our Stories: CDC in Kenya

Beginning Life Anew: An HIV Free Child

November 25th, 2014 12:00 pm ET - U.S. CDC Kenya Office

Bomu Hospital in Mombasa, Kenya, provides HIV prevention, care and treatment services with support of PEPFAR. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Bomu Hospital)

For all couples, the prospect of bringing a child into the world brings joy and excitement as well as concern about their future child’s health. But for couples in which one or both partners are living with HIV, health concerns make the decision to conceive a child a difficult one.

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Giving Blood, Giving Life

June 13th, 2014 2:00 pm ET - U.S. CDC Kenya Office

Teresia Kangwele

Teresia Kangwele, a program assistant at CDC Kenya and voluntary blood donor

Teresia Kangwele had thought about donating blood for a long time. As a program assistant who provides support to staff working on public health activities, she knew that someone who was suffering from an injury or illness, or needed surgery, would need blood to save their life. But, like many people, she had questions and concerns.

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US Refugee Admissions Program: Improving Health of US-bound Refugees

April 28th, 2014 12:00 pm ET - Warren Dalal, Program Support Unit, Immigrant Refugee Migrant Health Branch, Division of Global Migration and Quarantine

Abdi Yusuf, 12, is vaccinated at the IOM clinic in Kakuma refugee camp during the medical health assessment process for US-bound refugees.

The waiting area of the vaccination room at the International Organization for Migration (IOM) clinic in Kakuma refugee camp is buzzing with activity on this particular morning. Today is the last day of the three-day medical health assessment process for the United States (US) refugee resettlement program in Kakuma. This first round of vaccination being the last stage of their initial health assessment.

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Sharing Global Health Successes and Challenges: Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI)

March 13th, 2014 2:00 pm ET - U.S. CDC Kenya Office

In Garfasa, Kenya, Kenya Medical Research Institute staff provide IT support for the netbooks used by interviewers in implementing the Kenya AIDS Indicator Survey.

In Garfasa, Kenya, Kenya Medical Research Institute staff provide IT support for the netbooks used by interviewers in implementing the Kenya AIDS Indicator Survey.

Making an impact on the HIV epidemic in Kenya requires knowing what your successes are and where your challenges lie. At this week’s Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) 2014, Dr. William Maina of the Kenya Ministry of Health presented data from the Kenya AIDS Indicator Survey 2012 (KAIS 2012), its second national population-based household survey after the first survey conducted in 2007.

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Typhoid Fever Targets Children from Kenyan Urban Slums

January 9, 2014 1:22 pm ET - U.S. CDC-Kenya Office

Kibera slums on the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya

About 200,000 people live in Kibera, a slum on the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya, and the largest informal settlement in East Africa. With an estimated one-pit latrine for every 200 people, residents use plastic bags for relief and then dispose of them anywhere. This practice, known as ‘flying toilets’, is more common at night among women and children concerned about the area’s lack of security. Without sanitation facilities to contain and dispose of human feces, those living nearby are at risk for enteric diseases (those that cause diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting), such as typhoid fever.

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Improving HIV Diagnosis and Linkage to Care: Point-of-Care Tests

November 26, 2013 1:00 pm ET - U.S. CDC-Kenya Office

Laboratory staff demonstrate the point-of-care machine used in the study to test CD4 cell counts.

While antiretroviral therapy is now more widely available in Kenya, expanding clinical and laboratory services and providing better linkage to care for those who test HIV positive is critical to ensuring that more people receive HIV care and treatment. To address this need, CDC is working with the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) to conduct studies on the expansion of antiretroviral services by providing point-of-care testing of CD4 counts and HIV viral load, two important tests for managing the care of persons living with HIV.

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Kenya's progress towards sustainable health

October 21, 2013 10:48 am ET - Tom Kenyon, MD, MPH, Director, Center for Global Health

A KEMRI staff gives Dr. Kenyon a tour of Kibera, an informal settlement in Nairobi where CDC-Kenya conducts disease surveillance activities.

A KEMRI staff gives Dr. Kenyon a tour of Kibera, an informal settlement in Nairobi where CDC-Kenya conducts disease surveillance activities.

Recent events in Nairobi have understandably focused the world on security challenges in Kenya. In that context it is important to recognize inspiring public health advances that represent innovative collaboration between CDC and our Kenyan partners to increase health security for Kenya and the global community. I made a two-day trip to visit our CDC-Kenya programs – a quick stop before commissioning the new CDC Global Disease Detection Center in Dhaka, Bangladesh. While I have previously worked as CDC Country Director in Ethiopia and had a general idea of what to expect, visiting Kenya reminded me that each of our CDC country offices has developed unique programs and solutions to address public health issues affecting local populations.

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Souda's Story: CDC Support Benefits a Rwandan Refugee

August 2, 2013 11:00 am ET - U.S. CDC-Kenya Office

Souda, a Rwandan refugee, has benefited from the HIV care and treatment services available at Kakuma Refugee Camp.

Souda, a Rwandan refugee, has benefited from the HIV care and treatment services available at Kakuma Refugee Camp.

Souda is a Rwandan refugee who arrived in Kakuma Refugee Camp in January 2005. Her friendly demeanor and open smile belie the magnitude of what she has seen through the years. The more recent chapters of Souda's life begin with the journey she made to her current home, which was long and grueling. Souda left Rwanda in September 2004, passing through the Congo and Uganda before finding safety on the arid land of northwest Kenya more than four months later. However, the hardships Souda has endured are not limited to the persecution she faced in her native Rwanda or her daily life as a refugee in this camp of more than 120,000 people.

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Stomping Out Malaria in Pregnancy

April 24, 2013, 5:00 pm ET, U.S. CDC Kenya Office

Peace Corps volunteer Kelly Sawyer speaks with mothers about preventing malaria in pregnancy

Peace Corps volunteer Kelly Sawyer speaks with mothers about preventing malaria in pregnancy

Launched in 2005, the President's Malaria Initiative (PMI) is a key component of the U.S. government's global health strategy with the goal of reducing by half the burden of malaria in at-risk populations in 19 African countries, including Kenya. PMI is an interagency initiative led by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented together with CDC. Partnerships are at the heart of PMI's strategy, and PMI works closely with Peace Corps through the Stomp Out Malaria in Africa Initiative. PMI-Kenya currently supports three Peace Corps volunteers to implement malaria activities at the community level.

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Improving Indoor Air Quality in Rural Kenya

January 25, 2013, 5:00 pm ET, U.S. CDC Kenya Office

Jacob Moss, Director of the U.S. Cookstoves Initiatives at the Department of State, visiting households participating in the study

Jacob Moss, Director of the U.S. Cookstoves Initiatives at the Department of State, visiting households participating in the study

Secretary Clinton launched the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves in 2010 with the aim of saving lives, improving livelihoods, empowering women, and combating climate change by creating a viable commercial market for clean and efficient cookstoves and fuel.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has joined the Alliance, which aims to help 100 million households adopt cleaner cookstove alternatives by 2020 through scientific validation of health benefits—CDC's role—and novel marketing initiatives that will aid local economies to help make clean-burning cookstoves available to all who need them.

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Irene's Story: Evidence-Based HIV Prevention Interventions Support Vulnerable Children

Novenber 29, 2012 3:00 pm ET - U.S. CDC-Kenya Office

Irene says: “I want to prove to all slum girls that with determination and a positive mind, life can still have flavor that no one can imagine was in existence. I want to become the strongest in my weakest place because I believe I can creatively do a lot with my own self.”

Irene says: “I want to prove to all slum girls that with determination and a positive mind, life can still have flavor that no one can imagine was in existence. I want to become the strongest in my weakest place because I believe I can creatively do a lot with my own self.”

Tears rolled down Irene's cheeks as she narrated how she had watched her mother die in her bed.

For years, the 17 year-old had struggled to care for her ailing mother and two siblings. Irene could not afford the drugs prescribed and the nutrition required by her mother. With no ability to save the only parent she knew, Irene could barely express her anger, helplessness and hopelessness. A resident in Mukuru Slums, her mother finally succumbed to tuberculosis in August 2009.

With little education and no skills, Irene has grown up in abject poverty without a father figure and without adult support.  She was the sole provider for her two younger siblings. She turned to sex work in 2009 when she was 16 to be able to supply basic needs to their family. "It was not my wish but fate pushed me that far. I can't express enough the extreme emotional turmoil I have undergone but all I know is that life was full of frustrations and weariness," said Irene.

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Putting Nomadic Pastoralists on the Map

October 23, 2012 4:00 pm ET - U.S. CDC-Kenya Office

Dr. Chris Ajele (left), shares some local livestock statistics with CDC Kenya GIS Specialist Daniel Macharia (rt)

Dr. Chris Ajele (left), shares some local livestock statistics with CDC Kenya GIS Specialist Daniel Macharia (rt)

The CDC "Nomads Project" was piloted in northern Nigeria in 2011 and brought to scale in 2012 through funding from USAID. The concept is now being piloted by CDC-Kenya in collaboration with CDC's Global Immunization Division. In addition to bilateral government and NGO partners in Kenya and Nigeria, CDC collaborates with colleagues from WHO, UNICEF, and FAO as part of CDC's effort to eradicate polio.

Health care systems are designed to meet the needs of the population in the communities where they exist, generally addressing the most urgent health needs, and providing services in a culturally familiar context. But what if that "community" is a mobile one? Many of the things we take for granted — continuity of care or even familiarity with the language and customs among health care providers — can vary from region to region.

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Restoring Health for Kenyans with HIV: Komarock Clinic, Nairobi

October 2, 2012 1:00 pm ET - U.S. CDC-Kenya Office

Signs outside Komarock Clinic, in Nairobi, Kenya, let the community know they can be tested and treated for HIV and TB.

Signs outside Komarock Clinic, in Nairobi, Kenya, let the community know they can be tested and treated for HIV and TB.

Ask Rose Simiyu, a nurse trained in HIV care and treatment who works at the Eastern Deanery AIDS Relief Program's Komarock Clinic in Nairobi, Kenya, what she like most about her job and she has an immediate response: watching her patients regain their health in as little as two months of starting the antiretroviral therapy (ART) that the clinic provides free of charge to community members living with HIV.

"We make sure they have the correct diagnoses and then provide the care and treatment they need to be stable and to take care of their families," she adds.  

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Our Research in Kenya: Finding Ways to Improve HIV Treatment Access and Outcomes

July 26th, 2012 12:01 pm ET - Jane Mwangi, U.S. CDC-Kenya Office

This week, as scientists and public health partners meet at the International AIDS Society (AIDS 2012) meeting in Washington, D.C., one of the key challenges for the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is to continue to increase the numbers of individuals on antiretroviral therapy (ART) while making sure that those who are currently on ART get quality care.

Increasing access to improved clinical management in resource-limited settings and identifying persons on ART whose treatment is beginning to fail is a key area where CDC, one of the key U.S. agencies implementing PEPFAR, brings its public health research and evaluation expertise to the table.

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Today is the Day

June 20th, 2012 11:00 am ET - U.S. CDC-Kenya Office

Amina with her two children Mohamed and Sundes. 12 years after fleeing her homeland of Somalia, she is finally going to put down roots and settle into a permanent home.

Amina with her two children Mohamed and Sundes. 12 years after fleeing her homeland of Somalia, she is finally going to put down roots and settle into a permanent home.

CDC-Kenya's Refugee Health Program – part of the Division of Global Migration and Quarantine – primarily works with refugees under consideration for resettlement in the United States. The program collaborates with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other partners to improve the health of refugees. The program also works extensively with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to oversee the medical screening of U.S.-bound refugees to prevent the spread of communicable diseases.

It is a chilly morning in Nairobi, Kenya, but adults and children alike are bundled up and waiting patiently with their suitcases. They are shuffled through the line to weigh and tag their luggage – all their worldly possessions – as they anxiously await their chance to board a plane and begin a new life in the United States. These families are used to waiting; most fled their homes in the 1990s and have been waiting year after year for the opportunity to resettle and make a permanent home again.

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The Man Who Calls the Shots: Tabu Collins

April 24th, 2012 7:24 pm ET - U.S. CDC-Kenya Office

Kenyan medical epidemiologist Tamu Collins standing in a storage room filled with tetanus vaccine

Kenyan medical epidemiologist Tamu Collins standing in a storage room filled with tetanus vaccine

Recently I had the opportunity to speak with Tabu Collins, a Medical Epidemiologist for the Kenyan Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation (MOPHS). Tabu told me about his journey to becoming an epidemiologist and the public health challenges and successes in Kenya. Every day he sees the power of vaccines, not only to save but also to transform lives, giving children in Kenya an opportunity to grow up healthy, go to school, and live long productive lives.

Tabu grew up on the border of Nyanza and Western provinces. He can still recall the waves of measles, cholera, and typhoid that would strike his village. "It was something we learned to live with," he told me. Tabu speaks of how as a child he and his friends always had coughs and many ended up in the hospital, rehabilitation centers, or worse. "Looking back, I know it could have been avoided."

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Solving a Malaria Mystery

April 25, 2012 5:00 pm ET - U.S. CDC-Kenya Office

(left) Dr Simon Kariuki, (right) Dr Meghna Desai

(left) Dr Simon Kariuki, (right) Dr Meghna Desai

In late 2007, researchers at the KEMRI/CDC Field Research Station in Nyanza province in the western part of Kenya noticed a worrisome change in the rate of malaria infections. Malaria in this region had been declining since the 1980's but was now rising again for reasons that were not clear.

To look at why this was happening we start thirty-two years ago, at the beginning of collaboration between CDC and the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), when a research facility was built in Nyanza province to focus primarily on malaria research. Located on the coast of Lake Victoria, Nyanza province was, and still is, the hottest area in Kenya for malaria infections. And eventually the Health and Demographic Surveillance System (HDSS) was created which precisely monitors the health and socio-economic well-being of 225,000 people in this area every 4 months.

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Our Work in Kenya Reflects Our Global Commitment

March 15, 2012, 6:00 pm ET  -   U.S. CDC Kenya Office

Community members who participate in disease surveillance projects that help prioritize interventions and save lives welcomed Dr. Frieden into their homes.

Community members who participate in disease surveillance projects that help prioritize interventions and save lives welcomed Dr. Frieden into their homes.

In January I had the privilege of traveling to Kenya to see first-hand some of the extraordinary international work done by CDC. During my stay, I was invited into homes of people who, everyday, simply by the circumstances of their surroundings, are dealing with significant challenges to maintain their health.

In rural western Kenya, I met with a grandfather who had lost six of his children from preventable causes; I met a woman in Kibera who faces the ongoing challenges of poverty of that urban slum.

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Tuberculosis: The world cannot afford another phase of neglect

February 14th, 2012, 5:00 pm ET  -  Kevin Cain, U.S. CDC Kenya Office
Reposted from the Global Health Frontline News "Notes from the field blog"

A view of the clinic in Kisumu, Kenya

Cutting edge research is underway in Kisumu, Kenya, to find new ways to put an end to deaths from tuberculosis.

"My baby, whose name is Hope, was very ill and could not sit at 8 months of age. When she kept getting sicker, neighbors and friends contributed money to take me and my child to our rural home to await her death. Thanks to the DOT program and TB treatment, baby Hope is now strong and healthy. People still wonder what I did to her."

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Lillian and Baby Rose: An HIV-Positive Mother Gets Help From CDC

October 5th, 2011, 6:00 pm ET  -   U.S. CDC Kenya Office

Lillian with her first born, Emmanuel, and Eric with Rose

Lillian, a 20-year-old mom living in rural Nyanza province, first met Dr. Abraham Katana during her first antenatal visit at the Siaya District Hospital. She was five months pregnant and just learning she was HIV-positive. Dr. Katana, the study coordinator for KEMRI/CDC's Intermittent Preventive Treatment for malaria in Pregnancy (IPTp)-with Mefloquine study, encouraged her to be part of his malaria study because, as he put it, "The primary objective (of this study) is malaria prevention in HIV-positive pregnant women and we have committed to providing the best possible care to our participants, which includes HIV care."

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Improving the Lives of Children in Kenya 

August 29th, 2011  -   U.S. CDC-Kenya Office

In April 2011, Everline, a resident of the Kibera community in Kenya, was approached by a community mobilizer. Talking with him was normal to her, but this time the information he had was different. He came to talk to her about a seasonal flu vaccine study that was being carried out by KEMRI/CDC. As he talked, Everline realized that it was important for her two school-aged children to be vaccinated. So on a Tuesday in June, during the tea break at her children's school, she picked them up and headed to Injili takatifu church, the nearest vaccination site. There, she met KEMRI/CDC staff who guided her through the vaccination process.

Everline's children were two of nearly 8,000 children between the ages of six months and 10 years who were vaccinated in the Kibera and Lwak communities in Kenya as part of the study. "We were overwhelmed on the first day because so many people came for the vaccine," notes KEMRI/CDC Field Coordinator Kennedy Alwenya.

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A Pharmacist Motivated by Inspirational Women 

August 9th, 2011 4:43 pm ET  -   U.S. CDC Kenya Office

Fredrick Ochenge in the Tabitha clinic pharmacy

Fredrick Ochenge moves quickly and efficiently around Tabitha clinic's small pharmacy, filling up bottles, counting out pills, and chatting happily with everyone he encounters. When he calls a patient's name, they are met at the dispensary window by his wide smile and a warm greeting, as he carefully explains each medication's use, dose, and precautions. It is instantly clear to all who meet him: this is not your typical pharmacist.

For the last seven years, Ochenge has worked at the Tabitha clinic, flagship project of Carolina for Kibera, a non-profit working to affect positive change among the residents of Kibera, Africa's largest urban slum. Having joined the clinic during its early stages, Ochenge's institutional memory paints a picture of a thriving grassroots project: 'I have seen the clinic grow from a staff of two, to more than forty; from a one-room shanty to a beautiful building.' How Ochenge ended up in that 'beautiful building' is a story marked by tragedy and triumph, and the incredible influence of two inspirational women.

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A Promising New Career in the Slums of Kibera

August 9th, 2011 2:28 pm ET  -   U.S. CDC Kenya Office

Kibera, in Nairobi, is one of Africa's largest slums.

It has been six years, but Kennedy Odero can still remember perfectly the day he first crossed paths with U.S. CDC in Kenya. 'I was attending a local church function, and I heard an announcement that the CDC was looking for people to train as community health workers,' recalls Odero. 'At the time, I had another job, but it was not utilizing my skills appropriately.'

A graduate of prestigious Moi University in western Kenya, Odero had completed undergraduate degrees in both Social Studies and Public Administration. Hoping to find a job he could feel passionate about, he relocated to Nairobi soon after graduation and moved in with relatives in Kibera, one of Africa's largest slums. He immediately began job-hunting throughout Kenya's sprawling metropolis, but months passed and the right opportunity still eluded him. He had no way of knowing that he would find his ideal career, not in some prosperous Nairobi locality, but in the slum neighborhood he now called home.

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The Snowball Effect—Battling Malaria on a Global Stage 

June 22nd, 2011  -   U.S. CDC-Kenya Office

For children under five in particular, like 3-year-old Fadhil Smith, 3, bed nets provided by the CDC can literally mean the difference between life and death.
© David Snyder/CDC Foundation

In a district hospital in western Kenya, more than 200 mothers and children crowd into a small room, hoping to be seen by the hospital's one outpatient healthcare worker. Inside the hospital is an even bleaker scene. Two, three, or even four seriously ill children lie piled on a single hospital bed. When the nurses prick their small arms to give them transfusions or medicine, their blood is pale pink instead of a healthy red, destroyed by the malaria parasites that have feasted on their tiny bodies.

These are images that Dr. Laurence Slutsker, the associate director for science in CDC's Center for Global Health, knows well. They have been burned into his memory for more than two decades—and are one of the many reasons he has dedicated his life to fighting malaria on a global scale.

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Improving Health for Kenya's Refugees by Building Laboratory Capacity 

March 9th, 2011  -   U.S. CDC-Kenya Office

Dadaab Refugee Camp in the North Eastern Province of Kenya

Not far from the Somalia border in Kenya lies the town of Dadaab, home to over 300,000 refugees in what is the largest refugee camp in the world. Refugees travel long distances, often by foot, without adequate food, water, sanitation, or shelter. They are faced with a host of medical problems which are compounded by the overcrowded conditions and limited access to care in the camps where they live. It is easy for infectious diseases to spread quickly in such conditions. In 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Division of Global Migration and Quarantine (DGMQ) responded to nine disease outbreaks in the Dadaab Refugee Camp, including cholera, H1N1 flu, measles, meningitis, and pertussis.

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One Woman, One Community, Many Gains 

March 1st, 2011  -   U.S. CDC-Kenya Office

Jemima, a woman living with HIV in Kenya

Jemima is a woman living with HIV in rural western Kenya. That, alone, does not make her unique. After all, rates of HIV in that region are among the highest in the world. Even so, Jemima set aside worries about her own infection and went to work. She founded a group in her community that offers emotional support and small loans to families touched by HIV.

But then Jemima's own HIV grew worse. A local volunteer found Jemima at home. She had diarrhea and had wasted to 77 pounds. Jemima was bedridden, and weak with oral thrush and skin infections. The volunteer quickly brought Jemima, her husband, and her sick grandchild to a U.S. government-supported health clinic.

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  • Page last updated: November 25, 2014
  • Content source: Global Health
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