Bringing Services Closer To The People
Three years ago, Saidi was a pale shadow of the healthy-looking boy that he now is. When Florence took Saidi under her care, he was weak, malnourished and had sores all over his body. Determined to save her grandchild’s life Florence had had to scrounge for the fare needed to travel 23km to Kinango District Hospital where Saidi’s HIV-positive condition was diagnosed and he was started on antiretroviral treatment. The medicines helped Saidi get over the opportunistic infections that were ravaging his body and regain his health and strength within a few months.
Although Florence was happy to see her grandson’s recovery, she was worried that she would not be able to keep him in good health for long. The health workers at Kinango Hospital had told her it was important for Saidi to continue taking the antiretroviral medicines exactly as prescribed and without skipping a dose. This meant that Saidi would have to come to the clinic every three months for a physical check-up and to get a refill of the medicines. Florence would have to bring her grandson to Kinango every three months in order for his HIV condition to be effectively managed and this would be a uge financial burden to her.
When Florence explained her problem of distance and cost to the clinicians at Kinango, she did not know that they would mention her concerns to a Kenya Pharma representative, who in turn would discuss it with the District and the County pharmacists and eventually reach the ears of the National AIDS and STI Control Programme (NASCOP). As a result an important decision was made to upgrade a small local dispensary to begin providing HIV treatment services.
Vigurungani Dispensary is only a 10-minute walk from where Florence lives. When this small rural dispensary was made a service delivery site it enabled Saidi and other people living in his neighborhood to get HIV/AIDS treatment without travelling far and incurring costs that they cannot afford. Saidi was registered as the first client enrolled for ART service at Vigurungani Dispensary. The dispensary receives medicines from Kenya Pharma which is a reliable ARV supply chain supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Young Saidi’s health has improved dramatically since he was put on antiretroviral treatment. He is as active and as playful as any other 7-year-old child. And to his grandmother’s delight, Saidi has joined other children at school.Grandma Florence has peace of mind because she knows that the local dispensary has the medicines required to keep her grandson healthy and strong for a long time.