Gordon Otieno Odundo, Phoebe Ongadi, Robert Nyarango, Edward Lubembe, Nadia Musimbi Chanzu
Background: Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital is committed towards fostering equitable access of HIV treatment, care and support to all individuals irrespective of age, gender, race and socio-economic status through the Sunshine Smiles Clinics initiative. The initiative aims to scale up comprehensive family centered care and support services, build capacity of healthcare workers to manage HIV services and enhance patient care through improvement of infrastructure.
Methods and Findings: Outreach clinics are set up in slum and hard-to-reach areas, which have poor access to basic healthcare services. Initiative awareness and recruitment of patients is done through voluntary counseling and testing drives. Clinic services are provided at no cost to the patient. These include: HIV counseling and testing, provision of antiretroviral therapy (ART), treatment of opportunistic infections as well as nutritional and psychosocial support. There are currently 2,029 patients active in the program; of these 1,872 are on ART. Majority of the patients enrolled into the program are adults above the age of 21 years (59.73%) followed by children aged or under the age of 14 years (27.01%). The clinic numbers display a feminized trend; females represent a great majority of patients across all age groups. The initiative has successfully provided nutritional support to 321 families, 501 pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, 336 children aged or under the age of 14 years and 608 adults. The hospital social workers have also facilitated placements of 61 orphaned and vulnerable children to children’s homes through the legal system. A total of 254 healthcare workers have been trained in managing and providing HIV services through the satellite model.
Conclusion: These efforts are in line with the Kenya HIV/AIDS Strategic Framework which aims to address the HIV response based on a strategic and sustainable approach.