AIDS Healthcare Foundation cut ribbons on two new state-of-the-art HIV treatment clinics in Africa this week, with free healthcare centers built from the ground up in the capital cities of Lusaka, Zambia and Nairobi, Kenya
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) proudly opened two new clinics in Africa in the second week of May, both of which were built from the ground up by local AHF teams. The new Chifundo clinic in Lusaka, Zambia and the AHF Plaza in Nairobi, Kenya will provide free treatment and care for HIV/AIDS in an ongoing effort to control the epidemic in Africa.
The Honorable Jean Kapata – a Member of Parliament for the Lusaka district of Mandevu as well as the Tourism and Arts Minister for the Republic of Zambia – attended the May 14 ribbon cutting and dedication of Chifundo a Clinic of Mercy in the Zambian capital of Lusaka to help AHF President Michael Weinstein and AHF Africa Bureau Chief Dr. Penninah Iutung Amor cut the ribbon on the new facility. The clinic is located in the Zambian Ministry of Health’s Chaisa Health Centre.
Elated townspeople and AHF Zambia team members – including Medical Director Dr. Lawson Simapuka, Country Program Manager Victoria Kalota, and Chipasa Mbuzi, Laboratory Technologist in Charge – then led a procession through the town promoting the new clinic. The clinic is located in the Chaisa compound of Lusaka’s Mandevu district, and with a 20% HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in the entire Lusaka urban area and 75,000 people living in Chaisa alone, the new clinic will fulfill a great need for expert treatment and care.
“The Government of the Republic of Zambia has prioritized making ART available to all Zambians in need. We are honored to share that mission with the government, and indeed all Zambians, as we dedicate and celebrate the opening of the Chifundo ART Clinic—the first site in Zambia that AHF has built from the ground up,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “The combination of commitment and expertise in clinical, public health and management skills that are essential for successful HIV treatment programs are brought together in this facility, which we envision as a touchstone of successful collaboration in the fight against AIDS in Zambia.”
“AHF’s first undertaking in Zambia came about in 2004 when we officially launched and dedicated the Salvation Army—AIDS Healthcare Foundation Muka Buumi clinic at the Chikankata Hospital located in Mazabuka District. Since then, AHF has conducted numerous HIV Medics training programs in the country, training individuals who work under medical supervision to assist in scaling-up ART services—an effort that may go a long way to help address the need for treatment in Zambia,” said Victoria Kalota, Country Program Manager, AHF Zambia.
Nearly 20,000 Zambians living with HIV/AIDS are currently in care with AHF Zambia, including 15,000 receiving antiretroviral treatment (ART). Other AHF Zambia clinic and treatment sites include facilities in Chikankata, Choma, Meheba, Monze and Twatasha. Over one million Zambians are thought to be living with HIV/AIDS. Of those, about 350,000 individuals are currently on lifesaving antiretroviral treatment.
Two days later, on May 16, AHF Kenya cut the ribbon on another clinic built by AHF from the ground up, this time in the Kenyan capital city of Nairobi. Rt. Hon. Ekwee Ethuro. EBS. MP Senate speaker for the Republic of Kenya was on-hand to help Weinstein and Amor cut the ribbon on the new AHF Plaza free ART clinic, which was made possible through collaboration between AHF and the Kenyan Ministry of Health. It is located in the Parklands area of Nairobi.
AHF first registered as a non-government organization to provide HIV/AIDS services in Kenya in 2008. Since then, AHF Kenya has grown from a five-clinic operation serving just over 3,000 people to a group that now supports 14 clinics in four counties throughout Kenya, serving nearly 14,000 Kenyan men, women, and children.
“It is a privilege to partner with the Ministry of Health and to take part in the dedication of this new clinic today,” said Dr. Stephen Karau, Country Program Director for AHF Kenya. “This facility will offer comprehensive care and treatment of HIV/AIDS through antiretroviral medication, management of opportunistic infections, screening and treatment for tuberculosis, laboratory services, and nutritional and psychological support. It is a much-needed resource, and one that we hope will go a long way in helping to address and combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Kenya.”
“Additionally, AHF Kenya is involved in local advocacy campaigns to lobby for better healthcare delivery and increased accessibility to HIV services by partnering with civil society organizations and both local and national governments,” said Mary Nyaguthii, Prevention & Advocacy Manager, AHF Kenya.
Over 1.5 million Kenyans are thought to be living with HIV/AIDS. Of those, about 620,000 individuals are currently on lifesaving antiretroviral treatment.
Other AHF Kenya treatment clinic sites include the Mathare Clinic (Nairobi County); Kithituni & Emali Clinics (Makueni County); Rachuonyo Sub-county Hospital, JAM clinic (Homa Bay County); Mikindani MCM, Mtongwe MCM, Kongowea MCM, Kongowea Soko, Likoni District Hospital, and at the Port Reitz District Hospital and satellite clinics Bamburi MCM, Jomvu CDF, and Shika Adabu MCM (Mombasa County).
Of the thirty-four million people living with HIV/AIDS worldwide, twenty-four million people still do not have access to AIDS treatment. In response, in November 2013, AHF, together with a number of other organizations, kicked off ‘20×20’ – a groundbreaking global effort to scale up the number of people on lifesaving AIDS treatment to ensure that 20 million people worldwide are on antiretroviral treatment by the year 2020.