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
KANCO Partnered with the Beyond Zero Medical Safari 5th Edition
Grateful #becauseyougave to the Global Fund
KANCO Immunization Outreach
Photos from Anglophone Africa CCM Dialogue Forum
From right, Jack Ndegwa, head health policy and Advocacy KANCO, Harry Mwangi, Director agricultural research and innovation Ministry Of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries (MOALF), Habab Sheikh Abdi, director of primary education, John Gachigi, head of social protection sec
retariat, and far left Sharon Momanyi (Moderator), in a panel session during the 3rd Agri-nutrition conference.
Cabinet Secretary Health Siciliy Kariuki, making remarks and there after launching the Eastern Africa Harm Reduction Network during the 1st Eastern Africa Harm Reduction conference
Cabinet Secretary Health Siciliy Kariuki (Centre), Director of medical services Dr. Jackson Kioko, Head of preventive and promotive services
(NASCOP)-Dr. Peter Cherutich, Executive Director KANCO, Mr. Allan Ragi Delegates from the Eastern Africa UNODC, Ministry of Health and other
stakeholders pose for a photo during the opening ceremony of the conference
TB ARC PHASE II GRANT SIGNING
Launching The KANCO E.D` Career Biography
"Turning the Tide "
Unveiling of the 2016/ 2020 KANCO Strategic Plan
Healthy People, Empowered Communities
To improve Health and well- being among communities through capacity building and promotion of innovative leadership
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.
A trait common in both Tuberculosis (TB) and COVID-19 (Corona Virus) is the characteristic fast and easy spread in the absence of – or non-adherence to – strict prevention measures. Their highly communicable nature can easily overwhelm a health system with adverse fountain effects to normal life.
Over the last one month, most of the
world’s crucial activities have wound down with some countries and cities
completely ground to a halt following the exponential spread of COVID-19.
With the pandemic having grabbed total
global attention, the World TB Day 2020 may pass unnoticed or receive very
little attention if any.
The World TB Day is an important
marker of the global TB response where countries take stock of their
achievements, challenges, highlight plans and recommit, yet again, to ending
If WTBD 2020 passes silently, as it may likely do with all the attention directed to COVID-19, we may miss a good chance to reflect on our proactiveness, and/or readiness to deal with such diseases.
Historically, most countries
capitalize on March 24 (World TB Day) and the run up days to create awareness,
galvanising political goodwill, setting targets and outlining goals in efforts
to eliminating the menace.
Without overemphasizing on the
attention given to COVID-19, it is almost unfair that the much older and more
persistent TB has not drawn such immense response.
As a matter of fact, mortality due
to TB, largely compounded by poor housing and living conditions in low income
communities, has not triggered as much enthusiasm in addressing the squalid
living conditions or the weak health systems and extremely limited political
will, supplies and human resources to catapult preparedness as its younger
counterpart COVID-19 has done.
Whereas this comparison may be
criticised, the uniqueness in the COVID-19 response lifts the lid on our
shortcomings in salient responses towards strengthening the fight against
communicable diseases like TB.
First, it has managed to garner global
attention and concerted efforts not just by leveraging great political good
will across global leaders, but also has revolutionised research efforts
globally, with scientists working round the clock to find relief / cure for
Secondly, it has reinvigorated
philanthropy towards combating it as well as great citizen support for the
Thirdly, there has been a remarkable
breakthrough in technology and health systems strengthening. China set the pace
with the construction of a state of the art quarantine facility in a record 10
days. I use the word quarantine emphatically given that its one of the biggest
challenges we have in African health systems in the TB response, despite being
an important structure in the TB management and control we still are lagging
behind being in setting out this isolation facilities.
Fourth, the information flow through
concerted global media efforts has been commendable. Citizens have had real
time updates both from global and national media on the disease evolution, with
messages on prevention, spread and who is vulnerable circulating every
second. These efforts have gone a long
way in spreading awareness and inspiring citizens to be cautions but also in
underscoring the implications of their actions on the wellness of their
communities. It is however worth mentioning that in this internet age, this
period has also seen the fuelling of many untruths and stereotypes especially
on social media, detrimental to the global efforts in the fight against the
Fifth, there is a general increase
in health seeking behaviour, citizen heath policing, an array of emergency
health hotlines and greater communications on the preparedness of the health
systems to offer services related to the COVID-19 response. In Kenya, there is
an emergency 24 hour hotline for the COVID-19 response in all the 47 counties
as well as a clear and continuous communication on the risk factors and what
needs to be done. There are general community and health systems coordinated
efforts in the response. Furthermore, government efforts on contact tracing
have been commendable, a strategy that has been traditionally used in TB
management albeit not with such
thoroughness. The briefing on the death toll and the full understanding
of the implications of the epidemic and our individual actions may have been
instrumental in promoting citizen vigilance on the pandemic.
Back to TB. Drawing comparison with
the COVID-19 response, TB claimed 1.5 million people in 2019, and there is an
estimated 10 Million cases of TB per year while COVID-19 had claimed nearly
10,000 deaths as at March 20, 2020 and over 250,000 infections since it broke
out according to WHO.
Further, for TB, a huge number of
the new cases go undetected. This fuels
fears that the WHO’s end TB
strategy by 2020 may not be on track
given that only a 6.3 percent drop compared to the 20 percent drop target in
2019 has been recorded. The death toll has fallen only by 11 percent compared
to the 35 percent target.
WHO further points out that the
fight against TB is chronically underfunded, hampering efforts to strengthen
Despite decades of ongoing advocacy
for increased political good will to end TB, increased resources for TB,
strengthening of the health systems to effectively address TB, and bold commitments
such as those made at the + United Nation High Level Meeting, globally we are
still far from ending TB.
Bearing in mind the devastating
effects of TB and the catastrophic cost of addressing the disease, one wonders
are yet to pronounce it as a global epidemic to garner more political goodwill and resources that
are needed to make eradicating TB a reality. Sadly, most countries are yet to
allocate adequate resources to curb the disease despite being signatories of
the global commitments to end TB.
In Kenya, up to 40 percent of all TB
cases are still missing (and potentially spreading the disease). TB literacy still remains very low with new
or emerging guidelines in the TB management and control, rarely reaching the
communities especially in comparison to the COVID – 19 information flow in the
short time it has been here.
As we mark this rather quiet World
TB Day, it is imperative that we truly introspect on what is needed to
realistically address TB and what role each person should play to end it.
As economies take a beating with the
World economic Forum, estimating COVID-19
to cost about $1 trillion and as nations turn to research and faith in effort to defeat
this virus, we must remember that TB remains one of the leading communicable
diseases, compounded by the evolution of the bacteria to more multi-drug resistant strains, and truly commit
to ending TB for good, because every life matters.
we mark the World Food Day 2019, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals
(SDG) 2, that envisions zero hunger, under theme “Our actions are our future.
Healthy diets for zero hunger’ we must remember that the future begins
today, it is the little routine actions that amount to the great impact that we
the triple burden of malnutrition (undernutrition, micro-nutrient deficiency
and Overweight/obesity) continues to bite, coupled with the rise of
communicable diseases with nutritional implications that continue to be exacerbated
by poor dietary habits. Further global
reports indicate that hunger is on the rise and the
absolute number of undernourished people continues to increase.
food systems that speak to the structures and
mechanism of food production and
access continue to suffice, Consultative Group for International Agricultural
Research (CGIAR) 2019, forwards
five related problems that continue to exert the failing systems
supply of food from agricultural production to feed the growing world population;
Inefficient delivery of foods from farmers to consumers due to market logistical
challenges that often lead to large
losses and wastages during transport, handling and storage; Unequitable access to sufficiently healthy and
diversified diets, due to highly segmented food markets: Unaffordable opportunities especially for the poor and Unsustainable food supply
due to negative environmental impacts.
these overarching systematic and process failures continue to pose challenges, solutions
need to be sought: for example Information must be unpacked, from this big,
large and sometimes abstract idea of ‘ending hunger’, to actual, simple and doable
actions from the household, national and global levels to realise zero hunger. Hunger and nutrition related knowledge levels across
the different stakeholders must be built to help wield a force toward the realization
of this global vision.
Going forward we must see the smaller and the
global pictures and establish deliberate and concerted efforts to improve the
health outcomes at each level: For example, well-nourished mothers have
healthier babies with stronger immune systems, and thus at the household maternal
child nutrition must be prioritised, exclusive breastfeeding and optimal
complimentary feeding must be emphasised.
link between investment in nutrition and development need to be communicated
clearly: Proper nutrition early in life could mean a 46% more in lifetime
earnings, could save 3.1 million children per year, could increase a developing
country’s GDP by 16.5 percent, ending nutrition related child mortality could
increase a workforce by 9.4 percent and every dollar invested in hunger
prevention has a return between USD15 and USD 139 in benefit.
In Kenya 53% of child deaths can be averted through investment in nutrition and
3.2 Trillion shillings saved in the next 20 years. Specific
actions at household level to global level to actualise this, must be relayed
hunger must move from mere rhetoric to action, information must be broken down
for every stakeholder to understand what they can do towards the cause. It must
be owned from the household level, translate to policy and must wield political
good will and resources to actualise it. Stakeholder’s coordination to end
hunger must be strengthened, with the understanding that ending hunger is
 Food and Agriculture
Organization of the United Nations 2019: The State of Food Security and Nutrition
Depression is the most common illness worldwide. Kenya was
ranked at position four in Africa with 1.9 million people who have the condition (WHO Report, 2014).According to the Kenya Mental
Health Policy (2015-2030), mental disorder cases in Kenya continue to rise
rapidly. Estimates point that 20-25 percent of outpatients seeking primary
healthcare present symptoms of mental illness at any one time, while
government statistics indicate that at least 1 in every 4 Kenyans suffer from a
mental illness at one point in their lives.
In recent times, we
are waking up to many shocking incidences ranging from people including school
children committing suicide, others murdering their loved ones. Although not
all these cases are attributed to depression and other mental related
disorders, a good number have been confirmed to result from this. In almost equal stride, many people including
prominent personalities have come out sharing their mental health challenges.
Some have shared how despite having been top performers in their jobs, they
abandoned their jobs or terminated due to non-performance arising from lost
interest. Others turning to alcohol and substance abuse as others cut
relationships with their close family members. Despite the doom and gloom associated with
mental illness and those who have embraced it not only get well but set a
precedent for others that the condition can be managed. .
Why Mental health Matters
Kenya Mental Health Policy (2015-2030) states “Mental health is a key
determinant of overall health and socio-economic development. It influences
individual and community outcomes such as healthier lifestyles, better physical
health, improved recovery from illness, fewer limitations in daily living,
higher education attainment, greater productivity, employment and earnings,
better relationships with adults and with children, more social cohesion and
engagement and improved quality of life,”
facing Mental Health Management and Treatment in Kenya
Low Awareness:One of the biggest challenges is low awareness of mental
disorders, particularly, the symptoms of this condition among the persons
suffering from the condition and community at large. The fact that the symptoms affect emotions,
thoughts and behaviors make it difficult to understand and accept. This has
largely led to conformity of norms, where mental illness continue to be marred by myths and
misconceptions including being a curse, witch craft, spiritual problem etc.
instead of a disease that can be treated and managed if and when addressed appropriately. More often
the affected person(s) resort to isolation and don’t seek medical help.
and Management of treating mental illness in Kenya: In
Kenya, mental health is underfunded and there is no separate budget for mental
health. The country has approximately 100 psychiatrists for a population of 45
million (ratio 1:450,000). In addition,
clinical psychologists and medical social workers who are central to the
management and treatment of mental illness are very few. They are relatively inaccessible to the
majority who need mental health services due to geographical distance as
majority are based in the urban areas with high consultation fees. This forces
most of those suffering to seek private treatment which is very costly and
those who cannot afford are force to deal with their conditions themselves
without professional assistance (WHO Mental Atlas, 2014).According to the Office of the
Auditor-General (OAG), the referral system in place cannot work for provision
on mental healthcare services since most of this staff are unavailable in
almost all institutions in level 1 to 4 of the referral systems while others
are thinly distributed between level 5 and 6 facilities. Mathari Hospital, is
the only affordable public facility and the only public hospital in the country
offering specialized psychiatric services and training.
Ongoing Mental Health Interventions in
Kenya Mental Health Policy (2015-2030) provides a framework on interventions
for securing mental health systems reforms in Kenya. This policy seeks to
address the systemic challenges, emerging trends and mitigate the burden of
mental health problems and disorders. It aims at ensuring people have access to
comprehensive, integrated and high quality, promotive, preventive, curative and
rehabilitative mental health care services at all levels of healthcare and
strengthen mental health systems especially from the community level.
realize the above and with the aim of bridging this human resource gap,
Ministry of Health (MOH) – has been training community health volunteers (CHVs)
on how to address common mental health problems so they can effectively offer
assistance to people suffering from the same. The training focuses on a novel
cost-effective method for treating common mental illnesses – such as
depression, anxiety and chronic stress – known as Problem Management Plus (PM+)
which has been approved by the World Health Organization (WHO). This is in the
view that effective mental health interventions must be cognizant of the
diversities in our environment. The WHO
states ‘Presenting mental health care
services in culturally-sensitive ways may be essential to increasing access to
and usage of mental health care services, as local beliefs about mental health
often differ from the Western biomedical perspective on mental illness. Before
changing practices, evaluating the existing practices by mapping clinical
outcomes is a helpful route. Governments should move away from large mental
institutions and towards community health care, and integrate mental health
care into primary health care and the general health care system.
In view of the above, it will be
important for all health stakeholders to take up mental health as a serious health
issue. They need to undertake intensive awareness campaigns on the condition,
prevention, early symptoms and management and treatment services. The
Government should also allocate more funding to mental health services and
train health workers at all levels to manage and treat mental Health Challenges.
At the community level, grassroots advocacy present both opportunity for
empowerment towards demystifying stigma and influencing policy through ground
up advocacy to effectively address the challenge.