Integrating Family Planning, HIV, and MNCH Services in Kenya

Alice arrives at a health center in Western Province, Kenya, with her nine-month-old baby girl, who has a recurrent fever. Alice suspects malaria, which is endemic in the area. Two hours later, she leaves
with malaria medication and a free insecticide-treated bed net. To the casual observer, Alice got what she came for and had her health needs met. She even received a bed net she wasn’t expecting.

But consider what Alice didn’t receive. Had her daughter been weighed, the nurse would have noticed that her growth was faltering because Alice is not yet
supplementing her diet with nutritious weaning foods. Her daughter also missed the measles immunization she was due for. Alice was not offered an HIV test, which would have revealed that she is HIV-positive.
Finally, no one asked Alice, who has six children and does not want to get pregnant again, if she is using a family planning method or would like information about contraceptives
available at the health center. In short, Alice’s immediate need was met, but multiple underlying health needs went undetected by the health center staff.

Alice’s story is unremarkable. Similar scenes play out every day in health care settings around the world. In sub-Saharan Africa, where the burden of HIV, unintended pregnancies, and
infant mortality is highest, missed opportunities to meet health care needs, such as those of Alice and her baby, can be deadly.

Fortunately, programs in Kenya are leading the way in integrating family planning, HIV, and maternal/neonatal and child health (FP/HIV/MNCH) services.

According to Doctor Sharif, who is in charge of Sexual and Reproductive health at the MOPHS, the government has made integration of FP and HIV a national policy.
USAID/Kenya’s AIDS, Population and Health Integrated Assistance today is called APHIA plus as opposed to the former APHIA II project and it promotes integrated service delivery throughout the country in public, private, and
faith-based facilities.

USAID/Kenya’s new APHIA Plus Project will expand integrated services in 2011. To continue Advocating for Improved Maternal, New Born and Child Health (MNCH) Policies and Programmes in Kenya , Health Rights Advocacy Forum (HERAF) a non-governmental organization that brings together health professionals, NGOs, FBOs and PLWHA organizations to advocate for health as a fundamental human right in Kenya, with a support from UK Department for International Development, through International HIV&AIDS Alliance and Kenya AIDS NGOS Consortium (KANCO) has developed an advocacy plan of action with the aim of influencing policy makers and stakeholders to improve Maternal, New Born and Child Health (MNCH) Policies and Programmes in Kenya.