Children from the Joseph Kangethe School, a public school for Muslim and Christian children of ages 2-13, participate in the commemoration of the Day of the African Child 2017, in Nairobi, Kenya. (Photo by Albin Hillert/WCC)

Engaging faith leaders to achieve an AIDS-Free generation (video)

  • Jul 13, 2017

Kenya is one of the four HIV high-burden countries in Africa with about 1.5 million people living with HIV at the end of 2015.

Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya, is ranked first in the country’s HIV burden, with an HIV prevalence comparable to the national prevalence at 6.1 percent and contributing to 11.3 percent of the total number of people living with HIV in Kenya.

Pediatric HIV remains a significant challenge to the AIDS response.

By the end of 2015:

  • 171,510 people were living with HIV in Nairobi County. Of these,
    • 14 percent were young people ages 15–24 years, and
    • 5 percent were children younger than 15 years old.
  • Approximately 260 children and 2,177 adults died of AIDS-related conditions.

To address these challenges, the Strengthening High Impact Interventions for an AIDS-free Generation (AIDSFree) Project, funded by PEPFAR through USAID, is implementing a novel community approach to engage the faith sector as part of efforts to expand HIV care and treatment services in Kenya.

An estimated 90 percent of Kenyans practice some form of religion, and religious leaders have an influential role on behavior change and social norms. Engaging the faith community is a largely untapped opportunity and has the potential to increase community knowledge, demand for and access to pediatric care and treatment services.

Recognizing their potential to influence behavior change and social norms, the approach equips Christian and Muslim leaders to become Pediatric HIV Champions. Religious leaders engage their congregations to increase community knowledge of HIV pediatric care and treatment services as well as demand for and access to these services.

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Founded in 1960, IMA World Health is a global, faith-based nonprofit that works with communities to overcome their public health challenges.

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