Partnership launched to improve hypertension, HIV/AIDS Care

Partnership launched to improve hypertension, HIV/AIDS Care
Dr. Joseph Kibachio, head of NCD department at the Ministry of Health, volunteers for a HIV and high blood pressure test. Photo/Courtesy

U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and multi-national biopharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca have launched a partnership programme that seeks to improve access to health services by Kenyans suffering from hypertension and HIV/AIDS.

The one-year pilot programme is part of PEPFAR and AstraZeneca’s Sh1 Billion five-year global public-private partnership that comes after they signed a Memorandum of Understanding in September 2016, with the initiative being implemented in collaboration the Ministry of Health Homa Bay and Kisumu counties.

According to Katarina Ageborg, the Executive Vice-President Sustainability and Chief Compliance Officer at AstraZeneca, the partnership through the Healthy Heart Africa Programme seeks to leverage PEPFAR’s existing HIV/AIDS service infrastructure to augment access to healthcare services for men, especially between the ages of 25-50.

The initiative seeks to encourage health workers to conduct screening for hypertension as they do for HIV/AIDS with a main focus on the remote areas amid concern many men are unwilling to come out to be tested and benefit from new life-saving treatment and care.

Seattle, US-based PEPFAR partner PATH which enjoys extensive expertise in both HIV and Non Communicable Diseases programming, is currently implementing the initial pilot of the programme in Kenya.

“AstraZeneca is excited to be partnering with PEPFAR in Kenya to improve access to testing and treatment for people with hypertension and HIV/AIDS. We are happy to be building on our experience with Healthy Heart Africa, particularly at a community level. In emerging markets, AstraZeneca partners with health ministries and healthcare professionals to develop sustainable health systems,” said Ageborg.

Representatives from the Kenyan Ministry of Health, PEPFAR and PATH, as well as Health authorities, local dignitaries and residents from Homa Bay and Kisumu counties.

“This initiative being piloted at Atela Health Center in Homa Bay County will integrate care for HIV/AIDS and hypertension patients for the initial 12 months to improve access for affected patients in remote areas,” intimated Ashling Mulvaney, Healthy Heart Africa programs Senior Director.

Dr. Joseph Kibachio, who heads the Division of NCD in the Ministry of Health, has raised alarm over the increasing number of cases of high blood pressure being reported across the country, making it hypertension a silent killer and he is advising Kenyans to go for screening.

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