“For me HIV is more than a disease; it is an injustice. With everything we know from 40 years of this pandemic, the science, the drugs, the prevention tools, no one should be infected by HIV and no one should die from AIDS related causes. We can end the ugly inequalities driving HIV! We have all the tools to prevent and treat HIV and enable people to live long and healthy lives. If we do the right thing, we can end the injustice of AIDS. If we do the right thing, a world without AIDS by 2030 is possible.” These were the words of Winnie Byanyima, the UNAIDS Executive Director during a lecture session at the University of Nairobi on Wednesday 8th 2023.
During her visit to Kenya, Winnie Byanyima visited both Nairobi and Kajiado Counties where she had the opportunity see the impact the University of Nairobi is making in the community through a USAID funded project Fahari ya Jamii. The project implements tailored interventions that build the capacity of the county governments to plan, coordinate and manage high-quality, cost-effective HIV services that are readily accessible to those who need them through a county-led and owned, data-driven, and evidence-based approach.
In Nairobi, the Director visited HOYMAS (Health Options for Young Men on HIV/AIDS & STIs) where she toured the facility and interacted with healthcare personnel and beneficiaries who demonstrated the integration of comprehensive services, including community support. HOYMAS is a USAID Fahari ya Jamii sub-recipient that promotes the participation of Nairobi County's key population.
“I love the uniqueness this place offers, even though we have a long way to go in our struggle for human rights, I’m happy that the government has allowed this safe space where there is no discrimination. Preserve it, defend it and hold on to it tightly. This place is a beautiful story and a success I will be telling for the next months,” she said.
She also had the opportunity to visit Kajiado County where she was warmly received by the Governor Hon. Joseph ole Lenku together with the county’s first lady.
“We are very appreciative of the support you have been giving to our local communities to make them more resilient and adaptive against the ravages of the HIV pandemic. The hope and future you are giving to our youth will definitely transform their lives for the better.” Governor Lenku said.
One of the University’s commitments is to engage and impact communities around us, UoN through its USAID Fahari ya Jamii has impacted the lives of more than 60,000 people in Nairobi and Kajiado by providing lifesaving treatment.
For over a decade University of Nairobi has been on the frontline in the fight to end the HIV epidemic through its implemented projects Partnership for Advanced Care and Treatment Centers of Excellence (PACT-COE)(2010-2015, Central Region Integration Strengthening and Sustainability Project (CRISSP)(2011-2016) Centres of Excellence in HIV Medicine (COEHM) (2016-2021),Central Region Integration Strengthening and Sustainability Plus Project (CRISS Plus) (2017-2022) and the current USAID grant Fahari ya Jamii currently supporting Nairobi and Kajiado County.