Mombasa County: The 7th Maisha Conference was held from 29 – 31 August 2023 in Mombasa County.
Dubbed Ending Epidemics: Leadership, People, Science and Partnerships, the forum, organised by the National Syndemic Diseases Control Council, brought together scientists, health experts, stakeholders in the fight against HIV and persons with lived experiences to review best practices and scientific knowledge on HIV.
The three-day conference focused on progress made in combating HIV since its emergence over four decades ago.
Participants from various sectors shared their journey in HIV response, including innovative strategies that have effectively managed the epidemic and ensured continued support for vulnerable populations.
Globally, the number of new HIV infections has been reducing by 59% since the peak in 1995 (UNAIDS website), mainly because of proper prevention strategies and scientific advancements. Kenya is committed to ending the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat by 2030 by driving scientific advancements.
Despite the progress, Kenya continues to bear the seventh-highest burden of HIV globally, with approximately 1.4 million individuals living with HIV.
H.E Gladys Wanga, Governor of Homa Bay County and the Vice Chair of the Health Committee at the Council of Governors, was optimistic that county administrations remained committed to partnering with the national government to end pediatric AIDS.
She highlighted the gains made through partnerships with various stakeholders’ donors and NGOs, including LVCT Health, in addressing challenges posed by HIV, teenage pregnancies and gender-based violence.
Ms Mary Muthoni, the Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Health, praised leaders from both levels of government, development partners, CSOs, and the community for their significant progress and unwavering commitment to reducing new HIV infections and achieving effective viral load suppression.
Dr. Otiso, Executive Director, LVCT Health, moderated the session “Accelerating Progress: Translating Emerging Technology and Scientific Advancements into Large-Scale Public Programs”. She highlighted valuable insights into the potential of emerging technologies and scientific advancements in achieving prevention and treatment targets in the HIV response.
Speakers at the conference provided practical strategies, including innovations, that can change public health interventions. Joseph Barasa, Disability Officer, LVCT Health, underscored the need for inclusivity during the initial stages in getting qualitative that represent diverse populations.