Elgeyo Marakwet County on Tuesday celebrated the graduation Of 100 seronegative children born of HIV Positive mothers.
The graduation marked at the Iten County Referral Hospital was witnessed by US Ambassador to Kenya Kyle McCarter and Elgeyo Marakwet Governor Alex Tolgos.
Governor Tolgos said the graduation of the 100 children is a success story of strategic and innovative drive towards elimination of mother-to-child transmission (eMTCT) of HIV and Aids.
He thanked the US government for their support towards the fight of containing and eradicating HIV.
“US government through USAID and AMPHAT has done a commendable job. We welcome such partnerships that will transform the lives of our people,” he said.
The Governor added that the county through the Kenya Devolution Support Programme (KDSP) has allocated Sh62 million for the construction of a new mother and baby unit at Iten County Referral Hospital.
On his part Ambassador McCarter said the US government will continue supporting the program in order to reduce the spread of HIV especially during pregnancy.
“I am glad to be part of this congregation today. It is a great achievement and I want to congratulate these women for coming out so as to secure the future for their children who would have otherwise been condemned,” he said.
“This is a true characteristic of Kenyan people who are always ready to overcome challenges. Look at these mothers, despite being HIV positive, they still braved to come out and fight for their children to be free from the disease,”he added.
The envoy lauded the County Government for its efforts in insuring that mothers give birth at hospital.
“This is one way of reducing the spread of HIV from mother to child. When a mother gives birth at an health centre, chances of HIV transmission to the baby is minimal so are other birth related complications,”he pointed out.
Elgeyo Marakwet Ampath regional coordinator Beatrice Keter said early screening would help reduce mother to child transmission of HIV.
It estimated that over 4700 people in the county are living with HIV in Elgeyo Marakwet County yielding a 1.6 % prevalence by the end of 2017. Statistics from the Health department show that there have are 445 HIV exposed infants who have been on follow up since November 2017 Of this, 210 are aged 18 months and above with 12 turning positive.
Among those present during the graduation ceremony included Deputy Governor Wisley Rotich, County Secretary Paul Chemutut, Health CEC Dr Kiprono Chepkok and Representatives from USAID and Ampath among other partners.