The Integration for Impact 2012 Conference on Health & HIV/Aids Services in Sub Saharan Africa is currently underway in Nairobi, Kenya.
The conference which is taking place at Safari Park Hotel, with more than 300 delegates from over 25 countries worldwide has been sponsored by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, World Health Organization and Centre for Aids Research and hosted by The Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI).
There is growing interest within the global health community in the potential public health impact of integrating different health services into a single delivery setting. Integrating programs for HIV, family planning (FP), and maternal, neonatal, and child health (MNCH) would address patients’ multiple needs at once, and may enhance program effectiveness and efficiency.
The over 300 delegates attending the conference represent various stakeholders in the fight against HIV/AIDS as well as champion of Reproductive Health ranging from representatives from ministries of health, non-governmental organizations, academic institutions, as well as people living with HIV/AIDS, policy experts, donor organizations, and members of the media.
The conference was officially opened by Mr. Francis Musimi, The Senior Administrative Secretary in The Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation on behalf of the Minister Hon. Beth Mugo.
In the speech by the Minster read by her representative, the Government of Kenya affirmed its position on the integration of HIV and reproductive health services including: family planning, maternal and child health, and STI prevention and cervical cancer screening.
“Kenyan Government is committed to making reproductive health a national priority not only through the health system, but through supportive laws, policies and actions in education, gender equality and social and political participation” said Mugo in the statement.
She also noted that the health community can help build cost-effective and sustainable national health care programmes by avoiding missed opportunities that result from inadequate linkages or integration of reproductive health systems and HIV services provisions, particularly at this time when there is great need to increase comprehensive quality, effective, efficient, affordable and sustainable reproductive health and HIV services.
The government also informed the conference that the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation will work together with other ministries including The Ministry of Medical Services to seek partnership with various stakeholders to further policy guidelines including service delivery guidelines for reproductive health and HIV integration.
The three day conference ends that ends on Friday 14th September 2012 saw various other presentations by delegates from across the world including Dr. Micheal Mbizvo, The Director, Department of Reproductive Health and Research (RHR) at the World Health Organization (WHO) who gave a moving scientific address that shed the light on exactly how important this conference was and moved the delegates when he revealed that over two (2) million women and children die every year from HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria noting that women account for 60% of HIV infections in Sub-Saharan Africa and research shows that the burden of maternal mortality in the same area have been compounded by the burden of HIV/AIDS among women.
Other speakers included Dr. Sheila Macharia a Senior Health Manager, USAID Kenya and Dr. Velephi J. Ogolla the National ART Coordinator, Ministry of Health Swaziland.
By Kohadha Roy Ogolla