HIV home test kit, how effective is it

A few years ago the government through the ministry of health and the National Aids Control Council introduced the self testing kit target mostly the youth who are sexually active.

The number of people who do not know their status in Kenya stands at around 500,000. The introduction of the kits was meant to encouraged people and especially youths to know their status.

However, the kits don’t seem to be effective as it was anticipated. The kits are expensive that the youth can’t afford them. One goes for Kshs 500. There were plans to sell the kits to the youth at half the price but that was also not achieved.

Their were allegations of corruption where the people authorised to sell the kits sold them at Kshs 500 instead of half the price.

Before some one is tested at a health facility, they usually undergo counselling. With self testing, a person doesn’t have enough counselling to prepare them for the out come of the results.This may lead to suicide if one if positive.

When a person buys the kit, they should test themselves only. However, some people have reported that they have been forced to do the test. This is mainly done by controlling husbands to their wives. A number of house helps to have reported being forced to take the test by their employers.

Every health facility keeps records of people who come for HIV testing. These records helps the government in budgeting and to know the prevalence of the virus. For home testing,it is difficult to know how many people have HIV as no records are kept. Those with the virus keep it a secret in fear of stigma.

Their are also concerns about the storage of the kits.How safe are they kept so as to give the right results. After used how are they discarded to avoid reuse by some one else or polluting the environment.

 

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World AIDS Day, know your status.

Every year on the 1st of December,the world observers world aids day. On this day, various activities take place with the aim of raising awareness of HIV&AIDS and wildly share the theme of that particular year.

The theme for 2018 world Aids Day is know your status. In line with the theme i went for testing at a local health centre. After wards i had a chat with the clinician at the facility who’ve me an insight about the day.

First of all it is sad that this year,the day has fallen on a weekend. This means public health workers won’t be at work to offer HIV tasting. This leaves Kenyans in the mercies of private facilities.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), by the end of 2017,36.9million people had HIV& AIDs globally. Out of this 25.7 million were in Africa. Statistics show that only 75percent of people with HIV know their status.

Close to 1.5 million people are living with HIV in Kenya and of these, one million are on life-long treatment.

This year’s theme therefore calls on all of us to get tested so that each one of us may know their status. Knowing your status will help you know the kind of life style to live.

If one is found to be positive, they are told on what to do to ensure their life continues as usual. As they say having HIV is not a death sentence. With proper self care one can live with the virus for long.

Get tested to know your status, don’t assume you are ok.

Kenya’s pledges at the Blue Economy Conference.

The much awaited Sustainable Blue Economy Conference started yesterday at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre. Over 18,810 participants representing more than 180 countries have converged in Nairobi for the first global conference on blue economy.

The conference seeks to build on the UN’s 2030 sustainable development goals. The conference is to harness the potential the world oceans, seas, rivers and lakes to improve the lives of people and particularly developing nations and especially women and youth.

While presiding over the opening of the conference, President Uluru Kenyatta said thanked his co-hosts Canada and Japan for their continuous and unwavering support towards the hosting of the conference.

President Kenyatta said that Kenya will adopt appropriate policies, strategies and mechanisms to enhance the blue economy, to re-energize the national economies and create great opportunities and jobs for our people.

The President also said that the government will confront head on challenges of waste management and plastic pollution that is compromising the health of our people, oceans,seas and rivers which in turn threaten food security and biodiversity of land and sea.

He went on to say that the government will ensure responsible and sustainable fishing to conserve the endangered species and high value fish stocks which are depended on by millions of people.

In reference to the recent launching of the Kenya cost guard, the President said that Kenya will ensure the safety and security in the high seas so that global trade and all business can thrive unhindered and unthreatened.

“Kenya will take steps to build on and expand institutional  governance and those that exist to enhance and coordinate management of the blue economy”, said President Kenyatta. The institutions are; ‘the blue economy implementation standing committee and the state department of fisheries, maritime logistics and transport’.

The President also said the government would revive maritime transport by building and expanding port facilities and partnering with global shipping lines to extend Kenya’s maritime reach.

“The government will adopt a program to accelerate the increase of aquaculture, fish processing and storage capacities hence creating employment opportunities for the youth” he said.

The President further said that ” Kenya has ratified the ports measures agreement that will ensure vessels flying the Kenyan flag fully comply with the measures contained in the agreement”.

The conference is togo on for three days where they will come up with resolutions that will be adapted by countries across the globe.

Plastic bags still in use despite ban

The manufacture and use of plastic bags in kenya came to effect in august 2017. The ban was said tone the world toughest of all. It attracted a four year jail term and a fine of Kshs 4 million or both.

Kenya was the second country in the region after Rwanda to ban the use of plastic bags. More than 40 other countries have partly or completely banned the use of the plastic bags.

The effects of these bags were so high that the government had to come up with the legislation. Experts say that it takes between 800-1000 years for a plastic bag to fully decompose. Even after they decompose, they add toxins in to the soil which in turn are taken up by plants.

Some of this plastic bags find their way into water bodies. If nothing is done, then in the next few years, there will be more plastic than fish in water bodies. Aquatic life will be disturb which will result into their extinction.

However, one year after the ban, the bags are still widely used. Small traders use them oblivious of the danger they poses. From women in the market to the people selling sugar cane along the streets, they all have the plastic bags.

I asked one where he gets the bags. “i know someone who sells them. If you want i can connect you to him. Though they are expensive and you must buy a few dozens”,he said.

Their is a group  of people who control the illegal business. They seem to have a well established source. Since the manufacturing of the bags was banned locally, this cartels import from the neighbouring countries.

Police have nabbed bales and bales of banned plastic bags at the borders. Since the Kenyan borders are porous,it is easy for people to engage in illegal businesses and this is one of them.

Since the law came into effect nobody has been jailed or fined the maximum Kshs 4 million. Those that are arrested have all ended up with a lighter punishment.

The National Environmental Management Agency seemed to have given up in reinforcing the ban. It is like they have been compromised. The use of plastic bags is done even infant of police officers who don’t seem to care.

It is time NEMA got serious with their worker else we are going to lose the fight against the plastic bags.

The war on plastic bags willingly be won by all of us collectively. It our responsibility to ensure the ban is successful. I believe it is for our own good.

Don’t accept to buy stuff in the banned plastic bags. Raise an alarm when you see someone using the bags.

Let us hold hands to fight the plastic bags and in the end save the enviromet.

 

 

 

 

KWS investigates the cause of 3 black rhinos at the Masai Mara. — CAPITAL EYES WORDPRESS.COM

Barely six months after 13 rhinos died after being translocated from the Nairobi National Park and Lake Nakuru National Park to Tsavo East National Park, 3 endangered black rhinos have been killed at the world famous Masai Mara. The Kenya Wildlife Service is investigating the deaths whose cause is yet to be identified. While confirming […]

via KWS investigates the cause of 3 black rhinos at the Masai Mara. — CAPITAL EYES WORDPRESS.COM

KWS investigates the cause of 3 black rhinos at the Masai Mara.

Barely six months after 13 rhinos died after being translocated from the Nairobi National  Park and Lake Nakuru National Park to Tsavo East National Park, 3 endangered black rhinos have been killed at the world famous Masai Mara.

The Kenya Wildlife Service is investigating the deaths whose cause is yet to be identified. While confirming the incident, the  Narok County commissioner George Natembeya said “two adults and a calf had died. One of the adults was a 57 years old while the mother of the calf was between ages 16 and 20”.

He added that the KWS officials had taken samples of the rhinos to the agencies laboratories for examination to ascertain the causes of their deaths.

There were conflicting reports about the cause of the deaths where some KWS officials said the death was due to natural while others said the animals might have consumed poisonous plants.

Poaching was ruled out as the rhinos were found with their horns intact. This comes just two weeks after china postponed the trade on and use of rhino horns. This announcements came as a relief to conservationists.

However the death of the three endanger species at the Mara takes their efforts a few steps back.

Before the incident, Masai Mara was said to be home to 49 black rhinos down from 120 that were in the reserve in 1971.

Kenya is has the third largest population of the endangered black rhinos in the word. The country has a total of  743 black rhinos. The total number of both black and white rhinos the country stands at 1,255.

These rhinos are spread across the country in Intensive Protection Zones[IPZ], some roam in free range while others are kept in the countries 16 rhino sanctuaries.

It is our hope that this time round KWS will give us valid reasons as towhead caused the deaths of the rhinos in a very protected area like the Masai Mara.

 

 

 

RICHARD TURERE TALKS TO VINCENT XALER ABOUT HIS CONSERVATION EFFORTS, HIS ACHIEVMENTS, AND HIS THOUGHTS ON THE STARNDARD GAUGE RAILWAY RUNNING THROUGH THE PARK AND WHY NAIROBI NATIONAL PARK WILL NOT BE AROUND IN TEN YEARS.

XV: Congratulations on your selection to join the African Leadership University. What does it mean for you as a conservationist?

RT: thank you this selection means that my conservation work is being recognised and is a motivation for me to work even harder in my conservation efforts.

XV: You met Jack ma, did you talk about conservation?

RT it was a very humbling experience to meet Jack Ma. He was really interested in my innovation. We talked for about thirty minutes before we went to the main auditorium at the University of Nairobi where I had the privilege of welcoming him on stage. We are still in touch to date.

XV: You were working with wildlife direct and gearbox to come up with a new and refined light system, how far are you?

RT: First of all, I would like to thank wildlife direct for helping me make my invention big. Yes, I have been working with gearbox and wildlife direct to improve on the current light system. In the near future I would also work with the youths from the community to mass produce the lights. This will be as a way of giving back to the community.

XV: There are homes that still don’t have the lights, what’s your advice to them?

RT: It saddens me to know that in Kenya only 750 homes have this lights system. I would encourage people without lights to install them. It only costs 200$ and have a working life span of up to 3 years.

XV: What’s your thought about the Standard Gauge Railway that runs through the Nairobi national park given that we already have seen lions killed on the line?

RT: It is sad that the government only sees the national park in terms of monetary value and not as a great treasure that should be guarded at all costs. The railway has already tempered with the ecosystem of the park. Animals no longer move freely within the park. It is going to take time before the animals get used to the railway being there. If at all the will ever get used to it. It was a mistake to construct the railway through the park.

XV: There was an incident where a giraffe was electrocuted to death; do you think this would have been evaded?

RT: The government through the Kenya power and lighting company when connecting electricity to homes should bear in mind that animals migrate to and from the park. When they put low electric poles, they interfere with migratory routes of these animals. Giraffes have poor night vision and since they travel at night it’s had for them to see the power lines. If the power line must pass there, then at least they should put high where animals can not reach.

XV: Are the victims of attacks from wildlife compensated?

RT: There has been no compensation from the government since 2012. I don’t even think the government has a compensation plan. I have had that KWS plans to fence off the park, I asked myself which is easier, to fence the park or compensate the victims.

XV: Do you think the government through KWS should be helping you distribute the lights to communities?

RT: The government ought to help me in distributing the lights. It is because of these lights that the human wildlife conflict has reduced significantly. Like I said before in Kenya only 750 homes have the lights. If only the government could help, then more homes would have the lights and help reduce the conflicts further.

XV: Should the southern part of the Nairobi national park be fenced?

RT: Yes. It should be fenced off. But before it’s fenced off, there is a lot we would like the government to do, compensate our livestock, ensure all the animals in the community land are driven back to the park, which is next to impossible. No wild animal should be found on the community land as it would be considered trespass.

As we speak right now people from the community around the park are not farmers because the farms have been eaten up by wild animals, nor are they livestock keepers and this is because their livestock has been eaten by lions. So we are left with nothing.

XV: How has your life changed since your invention?

RT: I have a wide network of friends, friends I never imagined I could ever get. From Paula kahumbu to my classmates at Brooke house and many others. I have also learnt photography where I tell stories through wildlife photography. As you know a picture is worth a thousand words.

XV: Does your work get any press coverage from the local media?

RT: No. In fact, am known outside the country than am known locally. That explains why less than eight hundred homes have these lights here in Kenya whereas countries in the rest of Africa, Asia and even South America are fully using the lights.

X V: What are you doing to encourage people from the community to conserve wildlife and especially the endangered lions?

R T: I tell fellow pastoralists killing lions is not and will never be the solution. Those without the lion lights should try as hard to ensure they get them. The government too aught to come with a plan to assists those who can’t afford to buy the lights.

XV: Do you still want to be a pilot?

RT: No. I want to focus on conservation. I feel like there are not enough voices that speak the language of conservation. If things continue like this, then we won’t have Nairobi national park in the next ten years. I also plan to join politics some day and lead concersavation efforts in parliament.

XV: what’s next for you?

RT: Am currently looking for funds so that I can build a community workshop where I’ll teach the local youth on how to produce the lights. The workshop will also will be an incubation centre where we shall to ensure the youth realise their dreams.