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Integrated Prevention Demonstration Campaign Launched in Western Kenya to Fight HIV, Malaria and Diarrhoeal Disease
Date:9/15/2008

Innovative Campaign Breaks Down Policy and Funding Barriers and Paves Way

for Affordable and Efficient Approach

KAKAMEGA, Kenya, Sept. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- A new approach to fighting malaria, diarrhoeal diseases and HIV was launched today in the Western Kenyan district of Kakamega in Lurambi division.

The new campaign will provide a basic care package consisting of a PermaNet(R) long-lasting insecticide-treated bed net, a LifeStraw(R) water purification tool, condoms and educational materials as encouragement for residents to participate in a voluntary HIV counseling and testing campaign.

The campaign, officially called the "Integrated Prevention Demonstration," will allow for more than 40,000 residents of this division to learn their HIV status by visiting one of 30 HIV testing sites open from September 16-22, 2008.

"For the first time, a campaign will provide a basic care package of multiple health interventions as encouragement for voluntary HIV counselling and testing. By using PermaNet(R) bed nets, LifeStraw(R) water purifiers, and condoms as encouragement for an HIV test benefiting both HIV positives and negatives, we would enable a large proportion of the population to know their HIV status while protecting them from HIV, malaria and diarrhoea," said Mikkel Vestergaard Frandsen, CEO of Vestergaard Frandsen and the developer of the concept of the IPD. "There are many elements of this campaign that will contribute to Kenya's national scale-up plan for HIV counseling and testing that have never before been attempted, and we believe they hold the potential to reduce suffering and save lives far beyond the borders of Kenya."

One unique feature of the campaign is the rapidly scalable model for HIV testing and counselling that will be created. For the first time, a campaign aims to demonstrate the ability to achieve a national target of 80% of adults knowing their HIV status within one week. This assumes importance as in many countries, including Kenya, less than 20% of adults know their status.

For the first time, CD4 cell count determination would be implemented at the community level outside traditional health structures in Sub Saharan Africa. This is important because universal access to anti-retroviral therapy (ARTs) cannot be achieved without a scalable model for early determination of CD4 count at the community level.

In an innovative public-private partnership, the humanitarian aid and development assistance organization CHF International has worked closely with Vestergaard Frandsen both in designing the intervention and organizing the community for its launch. Says CHF's Dr. Eric Lugada, who will track the campaign's results: "CHF International is working with a network of service agencies and community organizations to reduce the impact of HIV/AIDS in Kenya by providing sustainable high-quality, expanded HIV/AIDS services. Vestergaard Frandsen and CHF International is an excellent partnership as CHF International's approach of working from the bottom up, with grass-roots communities, means that the basic care packages will be distributed where they are most needed."

The IPD campaign can be replicated throughout Kenya and around Africa, and represents an important opportunity to meet many of the United Nation's Millennium Development Goals. "This campaign will contribute greatly to our national target of ensuring that 80% of the adult population knows their HIV status by 2010. At the moment only 36% of the Kenyan adult population has been tested at least once. HIV testing is one of the key pillars of HIV prevention and access to treatment, care and support," said Dr. Nicholas Muraguri, the head of Kenya's National AIDS and STI control program (NASCOP).

The population of Lurambi is approximately 113,000 persons. The primary target group for the intervention is women and men aged 15-49 years.

Partners for the IPD campaign include: Vestergaard Frandsen, Kenyan Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation, CHF International, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, University of California at San Francisco, the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, DataDyne, and PointCare.

Vestergaard Frandsen is an international company specializing in complex emergency response and disease control products. The company operates under a unique Humanitarian Entrepreneurship business model. This "profit for a purpose" approach has turned humanitarian responsibility into its core business. Vestergaard Frandsen was founded in Denmark in 1957 and has since evolved into a multinational leader focused on helping to achieve the UN's Millennium Development Goals. For more information please visit http://www.vestergaard-frandsen.com

National AIDS and STI control program (NASCOP) of the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation is responsible for coordinating HIV prevention, treatment, care and support. The program works closely with the National Aids Control Council.

CHF International is a humanitarian assistance and development organization that works in over 30 countries worldwide. Founded in 1952, CHF International's mission is to be a catalyst for long lasting positive change in low- and moderate-income communities around the world, helping them to improve their social, economic and environmental conditions. CHF International's success is based on involving grass roots communities in every stage of the relief to development process.

Contact:

Peter Cleary, Communications Director, Vestergaard Frandsen: pc@lifestraw.com; Office 212-984-1026, Cell 347-653-5857

Laurel Tierney, Senior Communications Officer for CHF International, ltierney@chfinternational.org, US tel. +1-301-587-4700 or US mobile +1-202- 607-1307


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SOURCE Vestergaard Frandsen
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