Restoring Health for Kenyans with HIV: Komarock Clinic, Nairobi
CDC IN KENYA BLOG
June 20, 2012 11:00 am ET - U.S. CDC-Kenya Office
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 likes 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.
Eastern Deanery, a faith-based organization supported by CDC-Kenya through the President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), provides a wide range of services at the clinic, including HIV counseling and testing; voluntary medical male circumcision; screening and treatment for other sexually transmitted diseases; and screening and treatment of tuberculosis (TB), a disease common among people living with HIV. Similar services are offered at another thirteen Eastern Deanery clinics, all situated in low-resourced areas of Nairobi.
Antenatal care, services to prevent mother to child transmission of HIV, and well child checkups are also provided. To make visits to the clinic less stressful, children are treated in a brightly painted room where they can play as they learn about the medicines they must take on a daily basis.
While roads around the clinic can be difficult to traverse without a four-wheel drive vehicle, the clinic itself makes use of modern technology. An electronic medical record is created for each client to ensure quality of services and to enable the clinic to create monthly reports and monitor the clients’ progress. Staff emphasize that this is a huge improvement over the previous paper records, reducing data entry burdens as well as the amount of paper and other office supplies used by the clinic.
Recognizing that provision of medical care is only one aspect in improving the health of the neighborhood, the clinic also trains community health workers to conduct outreach and to make sure clients are taking their medication.“The community health workers—who are not paid for their services—are always ready to visit clients,” noted Rose Simiyu. All community health workers receive specialized training regarding confidentiality which has helped build a sense of trust among clinic patients that the workers will keep private any information shared.
The clinic also offers five classes of the Families Matter! Program (FMP), an intervention developed in the U.S. and adapted in Kenya with funding from PEPFAR through a cooperative agreement between the CDC and the Institute of Tropical Medicine, Belgium. FMP supports parents in effectively conveying their values and expectations about sexual behavior to their children, including messages about HIV, other sexually transmitted diseases, and early pregnancy. FMP helps parents protect their children from sexual risk taking through enhanced parenting skills, covering topics such as parental monitoring, positive reinforcement and effective communication.
For more information about Eastern Deanery AIDS Relief Program, visit www.edarp.org/.