MOMBASA, KENYA – In the southern city of Mombasa in the coastal East African country of Kenya, AHF Kenya – the regional branch of AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization – joined with more than 10 local partners to conduct 20 HIV testing campaigns throughout Mombasa and Makueni counties during the month of May, many of which were a part of a successful new workplace testing initiative. In total, AHF Kenya tested 17,600 people in May, a new record that significantly exceeds the branch’s previous best of 8,548 in March.
The new workplace testing campaign, the Rapid Response Initiative, came about through coordination with the Export Processing Zones Authority (EPZA), the government body mandated to license and regulate activities in Kenya’s Export Processing Zones (EPZs). Mombasa’s Coast regional office regulates 10 enterprises that employ over 13,000 Kenyans and are located within the Changamwe and Jomvu Constituencies, near enough to access one of five AHF Kenya clinics, the Mikindani Clinic.
AHF Kenya worked with EPZA to give tens of thousands of local workers the opportunity to get tested for HIV. The two organizations also identified problems that prevent people from getting tested and accessing treatment for HIV and tuberculosis, and proposed solutions. Fourteen consecutive testing actions were held within five of the largest EPZ enterprises in Mombasa, which saw 6,317 individuals tested for HIV, of whom 45 were found to be positive and were linked to care.
“We identified several challenges inhibiting HIV prevention for these employees, including their workdays ending 6 pm while the clinic closes at 5 pm,” said Faith Ndungo, AHF Kenya Country Program Manager. “To accommodate these late work hours and lower the rate of people defaulting from care, the Mikindani clinic has already instituted a late closing time of 8 pm once a week. With this we have seen a positive response in client enrollment, mainly from EPZ enterprises.”
AHF Kenya responded to other workplace concerns like a lack of access to condoms and educational materials about HIV by installing six condom dispensers at worksites in Mombasa and coordinating with local partners to facilitate the availability of educational materials. Furthermore, AHF Kenya will advocate for and spearhead the planning and implementation of a health program that will address issues like tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, and reproductive health.
AHF has been working in Kenya since 2008 and currently serves 4,215 clients through its five clinics there, 72.9% of whom are receiving antiretroviral treatment. Additional Kenyan partners include the country’s Ministry of Health, the Municipal Council of Mombasa, and the Salvation Army.