Sunday, 27 November 2011

Importance of Integrating Health Services Responding to HIV

"Kenya and its partners in the fight against HIV have been urged to integrate responses towards the disease if the East African country is to make greater progress using minimal resources.

Dr Wanjiru Mukoma, deputy director of Liverpool VCT, said resources set for fighting HIV are increasingly dwindling, therefore the country needs to integrate most programs.

"It is no longer viable to have institutions dealing with HIV alone or family planning. These services must be integrated since offering them in isolation eats into resources that are becoming scarce each day," said Mukoma, who was speaking at an HIV forum in Nairobi on Saturday.

She said besides saving resources, integration of services enables service providers to be one-stop shops. "This makes it easy for people to access services. HIV is a health problem and it relates to any other disease or health issue," she said.

"If you are a woman in reproductive age, you have family planning needs and you may be at risk of getting HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases perhaps because of increased alcohol consumption," she added.

"All this must be addressed when one visits a service provider for a particular service. This can be achieved through integration to eliminate missed opportunities."
Wanjiru noted that HIV funding continues to decrease thus service providers, be it government or the private sector must change tact on how they work.

She further observed that to wisely use resources, Kenya and other countries need to identify its programs that have achieved great success and scale them up.

"Prevention of mother-to-child infections program and male circumcision initiative to check HIV infection have had immense success in Kenya. Such programs need to be scaled-up by channelling more funding into them instead of starting new ones or continuing to fund some that are giving little results," she said.

She observed that whereas the bulk of HIV services happen at the community level through support groups, many countries have not made efforts in funding support groups.

"There is no funding for support groups in Kenya. The government has ignored these groups in its programs yet they need support and have played crucial role in the war against HIV," she noted.

According to Wanjiru, studies have shown that most HIV patients accept their status and start taking antiretroviral drugs because of the influence they get from support groups.

"People who have joined support groups are encouraged to disclose their status, accept it, live positively and take anti-retroviral drugs than those who receive regular counseling, for instance, in hospitals,"she said.
Wanjiru advised that Kenya must strengthen its HIV systems at the community level.

"Treatment happens and is distributed through community. That is where all work that goes into care and support takes place. We have to invest money in supporting those organizations and people who work at the community level," she said.
In trying to integrate services, Kenya's government is seeking to make HIV testing routine to enable people get tested whenever they visit public health facilities for treatment.

The government has also adopted HIV Testing and Counselling (HTC) program, which is comprehensive as opposed to Voluntary Counselling and Testing, where only people were tested to know their HIV status"

My Views:
It indeed is true that there is need for integrated response to HIV,by incorporating HIV programs into existing health systems.

The Kenyan government should develop mechanisms to help reduce theaboutkenyahub both the community and the workplace

Liverpool VCT,Care and Treatment is a Kenyan NGO that continues to do alot good work in response to HIV prevention,care and treatment.

More on the recent HIV forum held in Kenya can be sourced from EnglishNews

Monday, 21 November 2011

Sexual violence stories

 There is so much stigma associated with sexual violence.

This scenario becomes more complex in cases where one is sexually violated in a party or by someone one they are closely  familiar with.

Reason being that the society will always find ways of blaming the survivor for having brought the sexual assault upon themselves.

This stigma has resulted in  many victims not seeking help for fear of further ostracization.

This need not be the case as there is website that i recently stumbled on that provides survivors of sexual violence a platform to share their experience. This in itself provides healing

sexual violence stories
"Sharing your personal story of domestic violence, sexual assault, or sexual abuse is excruciatingly difficult. It’s also therapeutic, and helps others see their own situations in a new light. We do accept anonymous submissions — we just ask that you make it clear within your post WHY you need to be anonymous, as this is so often an enlightening part of the story itself."
If you feel safe enough to share your story, click on this link:
Submit to Violence UnSilenced

One of the stories presented on this blog clearly gives survivors hope

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Generations born Abused – Child Abuse

Whenever I see a child he looks with innocence at me without knowing why I am looking at him. From centuries the presence of the kids have always been consider as a positive sign of prosperity and luck. But as the world started progressing the positive intentions were changed into the abusive side against those who are viewed as the future of the national society, who helped in building a smart and bright future. Child abuse is more than bruises and broken bones. While physical abuse might be the most visible sign, other types of abuse, such as emotional abuse or child neglect, also leave deep, long lasting scars.

Physical abuse is shocking due to the scars it leaves, not all child abuse is as obvious. Ignoring children’s needs, putting them in unsupervised, dangerous situations, or making a child feel worthless or stupid are also child abuse. Regardless of the type of child abuse, the result is serious emotional harm. Physical abuse is just one type of child abuse.

Non-accidental physical injury may include severe beatings, burns, biting, strangulation and scalding with resulting bruises, welts, broken bones, scars or serious internal injuries. (National Committee for the Prevention of Child Abuse) An “abused child”, under the law, means a child less than 18 years of age whose parent or other person legally responsible for the child’s care inflicts or allows to be inflicted upon the child physical injury by other than accidental means which causes or creates substantial risk of death or serious disfigurement, or impairment of physical health, or loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ. It is also considered “abuse” if such a caretaker creates or allows to be created situations whereby a child is likely to be in risk of the dangers mentioned above.

Physical Indicators: bite marks, unusual bruises, lacerations, burns, high incidence of accidents or frequent injuries, fractures in unusual places, injuries, swellings to face and extremities and discoloration of skin.
Behavioral Indicators in Child: avoids physical contact with others, apprehensive when other children cry, wears clothing to purposely conceal injury, i.e. long sleeves, refuses to undress for gym or for required physical exams at school, gives inconsistent versions about occurrence of injuries, burns, etc., seems frightened by parents, often late or absent from school, comes early to school, seems reluctant to go home afterwards, has difficulty getting along with others, little respect for others, overly compliant, withdrawn, gives in readily and allows others to do for him/her without protest, plays aggressively, often hurting peers, complains of pain upon movement or contact, has a history of running away from home and reports abuse by parents.

Family or Parental Indicators: many personal and marital problems, economic stress, parent(s) were abused as children themselves, were raised in homes where excessive punishment was the norm, and use harsh discipline on own children, highly moralistic, history of alcohol or drug abuse, are easily upset, have a low tolerance for frustration, are antagonistic, suspicious and fearful of other people, social isolation, no supporting network of relatives or friends, see child as bad or evil, little or no interest in child’s well-being; do not respond appropriately to child’s pain, explanation of injuries to child are evasive and inconsistent, blame child for injuries, constantly criticize and have inappropriate expectations of child and take child to different physicians or hospital for each injury
Neglect and emotional abuse can be just as damaging, and since they are more subtle, others are less likely to intervene. While it’s easy to say that only “bad people” abuse their children, it’s not always so black and white. Not all abusers are intentionally harming their children. Many have been victims of abuse themselves, and don’t know any other way to parent. Others may be struggling with mental health issues or a substance abuse problem.
Abuse is any behavior that is designed to control and subjugate another human being through the use of fear, humiliation, intimidation, guilt, coercion, manipulation etc. Emotional abuse is any kind of abuse that is emotional rather than physical in nature. It can include anything from verbal abuse and constant criticism to more subtle tactics, such as repeated disapproval or even the refusal to ever be pleased.
Emotional abuse is like brain washing in that it systematically wears away at the victim’s self-confidence, sense of self-worth, trust in their own perceptions, and self-concept. Whether it is done by constant berating and belittling, by intimidation, or under the guise of “guidance,” “teaching”, or “advice,” the results are similar. Eventually, the recipient of the abuse loses all sense of self and remnants of personal value.
Emotional abuse cuts to the very core of a person, creating scars that may be far deeper and more lasting that physical ones.
In fact there is research to this effect. With emotional abuse, the insults, insinuations, criticism and accusations slowly eat away at the victim’s self-esteem until she is incapable of judging the situation realistically. She has become so beaten down emotionally that she blames herself for the abuse. Her self-esteem is so low that she clings to the abuser.

Emotional abuse victims can become so convinced that they are worthless that they believe that no one else could want them. They stay in abusive situations because they believe they have nowhere else to go. Their ultimate fear is being all alone.

Child abuse cuts across all all racial, economic, and cultural lines. Sometimes, families who seem to have it all from the outside are hiding a different story behind closed doors. While abuse by strangers does happen, most abusers are family members or others close to the family. It is true that abused children are more likely to repeat the cycle as adults, unconsciously repeating what they experienced as children.

Save child save future being abused. This will go along way on protecting the future generation of adults