The useful strategy document was developed by the county government of Garissa through partnership with National AIDS Control Council and others to address HIV pandemic in the county of Garissa.
The five-year strategic plan was launched by the county government of Garissa together with National Aids Control Council (NACC).
According to CEC for health, Hon. Hubbie Hussein Al-Haji, the process of the strategic plan took a consultative and multi-sectoral approach taking contributions from key HIV stakeholders and the community in general through workshops, focused group discussions, reviews of document and meetings.
The challenges that faced the development of the HIV strategy included non-availability of County-specific granulated HIV baseline data and financial restrain, according to Chief Officer, department of Health, Dr. Sofia Mohamed.
National AIDS Control Council (NACC), the Garissa County’s Department of Health Services, SIMAHO, Womankind-Kenya and the Directorate of Economic Planning played significant role in the development of GCASP (Garissa County HIV and AIDS STRATEGIC PLAN).
HIV prevalence in the county is estimated to be 2.1% by 2014. Approximately 4,500 people are living with HIV in the county of Garissa.
The county’s strategic plan along with the county health sector strategic and investment plan 2013-2018 aims to achieve Kenya AIDS Strategic Framework (KASF) objectives which are: reducing new HIV infections, reducing HIV stigma and discrimination, reducing HIV/AIDS-related deaths and to increase the domestic financing.
“ My government is committed to ensuring this Garissa County AIDS Strategic Plan guides Garissa County towards contributing and fulfilling the objectives of Universal Access (UA) and the attainment of the highest standard of health to all the residents of the county”, Governor of Garissa County, H.E Nathif Jama Adam.
The county has the following health facilities. 68 Level Two facilities, 7 level Four, 21 private clinics, 19 level three facilities, 1 level five, 3 Non-governmental dispensaries and 5 mission health facilities.
As per the HIV report of KDHS (2003), Garissa has zero cases of HIV, increased to 1.3 percent (2007) and currently the rate stands at 2.1percent with 200 new infections annually.
5 year plan
The five-year strategic plan is designed to guide the county’s response to HIV and AIDS with the goal of reducing HIV prevalence to less than 1 percent through prevention, treatment, care and support by 2020.
One of the major specific objectives of the strategic plan that is noted on the document is to increase equitable access and utilization of HIV services to the general population, the marginalized and priority population of sex workers, PLHIV, Youths an people living with disabilities.
In line with the Garissa county HIV and AIDS STRATEGIC PLAN new infections can be reduced in the county through the following ways: well planned peer education, strengthening health systems and introduction of HIV school programmes.
Other ways include promotion the use of condoms, safe blood transfusion, enrollment of all HIV- positive to care and treatment mothers, testing all pregnant and lactating mothers for HIV, capacity building of health workers, training health workers on infection prevention an blood safety, increase access on sexuality, reproductive health services and stigma reduction and offering peer-to-peer outreach in and outside schools.