The Kenya AIDS NGOs Consortium (KANCO) is a national membership network of NGOs, CBOs, and FBOs, Private Sector actors, Research and Learning Institutions involved in or that have interest in HIV & AIDS , TB and other public health care concerns in Kenya such as Malaria, Nutrition, Community Harm Reduction(among injecting drug users) among others.

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Kenya AIDS NGOs Consortium (KANCO)
Regent Management Limited Court
Opposite Nairobi Womens Hospital
Argwings Kodhek Road/ Block C
P.O. Box 69866-00400, Nairobi - Kenya
Landline: 020 2323533/020 2434615/020 20323506/020 2322657
Email: kanco@kanco.org

Our Vision

Healthy People, Empowered Communities

Our Mission

To improve Health and well- being among communities through capacity building and promotion of innovative leadership

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KANCO is a membership organization established in the early 1990s in Kenya with operations in the Eastern Africa region. Its membership comprises of Non- Governmental Organizations (NGOs), Community Based Organizations (CBOs), and Faith Based Organizations (FBOs), Network organizations and learning institutions that have a focus on health advocacy and or implementing health programs.

Latest News

Women Representatives, MPs , Senators, CSOs and Media representatives during the women leaders immunization and HPV sensitization forum at Windsor Hotel

Inside this issue;

  • Building Political goodwill for Immunization among women leaders
  • TB/ UHC Integration-CSOs Voices
  • Kenya makes History with the Launch of the Malaria Vaccine
  • Integrated Key Populations Surveillance (IKEPS) Report Writing
  • KANCO Central Region Updates  at a Glance 

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Nairobi County EPI logistician, Florence Kabuga, making a presentation during the forum

Iside this issue:

  • Preparations Ahead of the HPV Vaccine Launch
  • Strengthening CSO voices in TICAD 7
  • Shifting the Health Research approach
  • Training Grassroots on advocacy and drug abuse

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Stakeholders following a discussion during the SUN-CSA Advocacy and Communication Sub-committee Meeting

Inside this issue:

  • Deliberations Towards Scaling Up Nutrition Advocacy
  • Engaging the business Community of Machakos county on TB
  • KANCO hosting the CSOs leadership team pictorial

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KANCO in Numbers


Children received basic ECD services


People reached with malaria interventions


Households reached through community outreaches


Community healthcare workers supported


People screened for TB and over 500 cases linked for treatment


Individuals reached with health messages


FSWs reached with comprehensive care package


PWIDs reached with targeted health interventions


MSMs Reached with Comprehensive Care Package


Community Grassroots Advocates engaged


CSOs received Capacity Building and Technical Support


Policy Makers Engaged


Organizations received grants to implement health programs across Eastern Africa region

KANCO Members

Map of Kanco Members

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Latest Blog

April 2nd, 2019

Wachira Charity, Communications Officer

26th March 2019 will remain a historic day for the Harm Reduction fraternity and stakeholders in the greater Eastern Africa region and globally . It is the day that the EAC council of Ministers  approved the East African Community Regional Policy on Alcohol, Drugs and Substance use!  a major and bold step to cementing harm reduction for people who use drugs in the region.

Three years ago, KANCO with the support of the Global Fund through the Regional HIV and Harm Reduction Project, embarked on a journey to introduce and cement harm reduction in the greater Eastern Africa region. Armed with three objectives:  to improve the policy environment, the service delivery environment as well as generate evidence to inform harm reduction interventions in the region.

Confronting scepticism, prohibitive policy environment and limited information on harm reduction characterised the terrain at the start of the task ahead. Using a public health approach as an entry point, KANCO and the implementing partners formed partnerships of like-minded institutions, to help gather evidence and create the momentum for engagement.

This was against the background that, East Africa is home to about 150 million people, 260,000 among them being people who inject drugs. This constitutes about a fifth of the population of people who use drugs in Africa and growing, thus could not be ignored. This is majorly because of the role of the Eastern Africa region as a transit route as well as the growing use of drugs for recreation. Consequently this has fuelled the growth of the HIV epidemic standing at about 18%, arising from the sharing of injecting equipment and related sexual behaviour, with recent data from studies conducted in Tanzania and Kenya indicating that most of the people who inject drugs acquire HIV before the age of 25.

Harm reduction entails addressing the health, social and economic consequences faced by people who use drugs. At the heart of the intention was the understanding that policy legislation was the only sure way of cementing any gains made in the region.

Subsequently KANCO in partnership with the East African Community Secretariat and regional Harm Reduction partners embarked on developing a policy that would safeguard the gains made and create room for sustainability of harm reduction interventions. They sought to address 5 broad key policy areas: Data collection to inform Harm Reduction, Developing national harm reduction policies, Delivering interventions to people who use drugs, strengthening the capacity of PWUDs across EAC as well as creation of a supportive legal environment.

The EAC Regional Policy on Alcohol, Drugs and Other Substance

In 2016, KANCO  working with the EAC Secretariat with support from the Global Fund under the HIV and Harm Reduction Regional Project for Eastern Africa, and the EAC Partner States commenced the process of developing the Policy. The International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC) provided the initial technical support in the formulation of the draft EAC Regional Policy on Prevention, Management, and Control of Alcohol, Drug and Other Substance Use.

The policy was developed through a consultative process where it navigated various stages both at regional and national levels. This includes the literature review and data collection involved in drafting a comprehensive situational analysis; the formulation of the draft policy document; country consultations; experts’ meetings and peer review consideration and validation of the final draft. Numerous parties and individuals including Experts from the EAC Partner States, Experts from regional and international organizational including KANCO, IDPC, OSIEA, UNODC, UNAIDS, WHO, and the technical experts from the EAC Secretariat HIV and AIDS unit contributed to the development of this policy.

The EAC Regional Policy on Alcohol, Drugs and Other Substance use recognizes that alcohol, drugs and other substances use or consumption is associated with related problems arising from the complex relationship between the individual consumer of alcohol, drugs and other substances and the broader cultural, political, social, economic and physical environment. Therefore, this policy provides broad framework within which all stakeholders in the region will contribute to the reduction of the negative consequences caused by Alcohol, drugs, and other substances used in the EAC region with specific emphasis on comprehensive prevention, control and management of the harmful effects of alcohol and drug use including provision for strategies for the rehabilitation of persons with alcohol, drugs and other substance use disorders.

With the aims of the policy anchored on; prevention of the youth from initiating alcohol and drug use; control the production supply and distribution of illicit and licit alcohol as well as narcotic drugs in the region, and management of alcohol and drug related harmful effects including, Harm reduction for those that are already dependent on drugs. This policy also promotes and protects the health and well-being of the citizens of the East African Community.

Although the policy is not an end in itself it provides a platform for sensitization, advocacy and access to services, reaffirming the health and human rights of the people who use drugs. The call to the member countries stakeholders is to adopt, sensitize and promote its understanding for effective application to bridge the service gap for people who use drugs in the region. KANCO and stakeholders remain optimistic that the policy opens a new frontier to chart the harm reduction discussion.

April 2nd, 2019

Esther Kagure

Ever wondered why some children are too short compared to others? Or why the shortest kid in the class was usually trailing last in academic performance?  This could be a result of stunting   defined by UNICEF as chronic undernutrition during the most critical periods of growth and development in early life.  The height and weight of children, their intellectual capabilities and subsequent development are greatly determined by nutrition between the conceptions to the age of 2 years.

Short stature could be due to a number of  reasons:

(Medical news todays 2017), advances three kinds of variant growths in children: Variant restricted growth influenced by genetics and hormones and sometimes a person is small but otherwise healthy, Disproportionate short stature; (DSS) which is Short stature is linked to a genetic mutation where the   individual with DSS will be small in height, and will have other unusual physical features; and Proportionate short stature (PSS) where the overall growth is restricted. This is because of undernutrition at the early stages of life one of the resultant conditions is stunting which this blog tries to explore;

In Kenya over one-quarter of children under five are stunted, or too short for their age. Stunting is more common in rural areas than urban areas (29% versus 20%) and ranges from 15% in Nyeri to 46% in Kitui and in West Pokot (KDHS 2014). The report further stipulates that 42% of mothers do not initiate breastfeeding within the first hour of delivery. 39% of mothers with infants 0-6 months do not exclusively breastfeed. On average, Kenyan children are breastfed for 21 months and exclusively breastfed for 4.3 months (KDHS 2014).61% of children 6-24 months do not receive optimal complementary feeding.  Nutrition holds the promise to avert malnutrition and its associated social and economic menace by embracing and leveraging on the first 1000 days window.

A 1000 DAYS

The 1000 days span between when the woman gets pregnant and her child’s second birthday which offer a critical window of opportunity to shape healthier and a more prosperous future for a child and the nation. Evidence shows that optimal nutrition during this time can have a lasting impact on a child’s growth, learning, and future productivity (USAID 2013) Good maternal nutrition is very important for a successful pregnancy, child delivery and lactation on to two years. Nutrition before a pregnancy influences a woman’s ability to conceive, it determines the fetal development and growth, size of the baby and its overall health and the health of the mother in general. Malnutrition before and during pregnancy makes the placenta fail to develop fully therefore it cannot optimally nourish the fetus. This leads to low birth weight. Low birth weight is a significant contributor to infant mortality,  and babies who survive are likely to suffer growth retardation and illness throughout their childhood, adolescence and into adulthood. Growth-retarded adult women are likely to carry on the vicious cycle of malnutrition by giving birth to low birth-weight babies. Underweight women experience more complication during pregnancy and delivery more than normal women.

After a child is born, appropriate infant and young child feeding practices should be practiced. That means exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life followed by gradual introduction of   complementary foods. Appropriate and optimal complementary feeding for the 6-24 months babies is critical in ensuring optimal growth and development. Food at this stage should meet the basic criteria of Frequency, Amount, Thickness, Variety, Adequacy, Active feeding and Hygiene (FATVAH) (Maternal, Infant and Young Child Nutrition National operational Guidelines for Health Workers 2013).

There are a number of factors that play a role in malnutrition and specifically stunting;

Poverty: Poverty limits availability of adequate amounts of nutritious food for the most vulnerable populations. Over 90 percent of malnourished people live in developing countries.

Lack of food; Most major food and nutrition crises do not occur because of a lack of food, but rather because people are too poor to obtain enough food. Non-availability of food in markets, difficult access to markets due to lack of transportation and insufficient financial resources are all factors contributing to the food insecurity of the most vulnerable populations.

Conflicts: Conflicts directly affect access to food, people uprooted by conflict lose access to their farms and businesses, or other means of local food production and markets. As a result, food supplies to distributors may be cut off, and the many populations dependent on them may be unable to obtain sufficient food.

Disease: Illnesses lead to poor intake of food and its absorption. To fight disease also, our bodies require more energy than usual. With a poor nutrition, the progress of diseases is fast than in an individual with a good nutrition status.

Inadequate nutrition knowledge: A big population does not have sufficient information on nutrient absorption and inhibitors of certain nutrients absorption for example the absorption of none-heme iron. In this case, the problem is not the access of food nor is it eating less diverse foods but having the nutrients in our meals yet our bodies are not in a position to access them.

KANCO has actively been involved in advocacy for nutrition sensitive actions. In its nutrition project in Mombasa County, KANCO has seen increased domestic resources for nutrition. There has also been enhancement in human and institutional capacity thus County health facilities and community units have recorded increased demand and uptake of nutrition services and commodities.

To eliminate malnutrition during 1000 days, a well detailed nutrition information should be included in our school curriculum. Nutrition Education on the Window of Opportunity should be included in our higher education institutions curriculum as a Common Unit.

During events like World Breastfeeding Week, it should be put in bold that even though Exclusive breastfeeding is optional left the consequences of not doing may have long lasting negative effects on the child.

Malnutrition has significant negative consequences for many developing countries, particularly in terms of poor human health, lost human capital, and decreased economic productivity. the Copenhagen Consensus in 2012  identified Investment in nutrition as a best investment for developing countries where  every dollar invested in nutrition yields a $30 return. To achieve this, there need to be increased domestic resources for health and to be more specific  resources for nutrition sensitive actions, there also need to increased nutrition education to the public.

March 26th, 2019

Joan Mutinda, Policy Advocacy

Why Grassroots Model

Community engagement is vital in many projects and there is documented evidence of high benefits resulting from it (more…)

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