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September 23, 2018

Gates laud Kenya's male circumcision and Prep programmes to prevent HIV in first 'Goalkeepers' report

A medic prepares to perform medical male circumcision on a client in Bondo, in 2010. Bill Gates praises the Kenyan programme in the inaugural 'Goalkeepers' report launched in New York this week.  File Photo.
A medic prepares to perform medical male circumcision on a client in Bondo, in 2010. Bill Gates praises the Kenyan programme in the inaugural 'Goalkeepers' report launched in New York this week. File Photo.

Kenya has been extolled as the world's role model for HIV-prevention, in a major report released by Bill Gates this week. 

Bill praised Kenya's voluntary medical male circumcision programme and the recent roll-out of pre-exposure prophylaxis as a first for the world.

Bill and his wife Melinda Gates released the the report - Goalkeepers: The Stories Behind the Data - on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. 

He noted the key to solving the Aids crisis over the long term is prevention. 

“Kenya has been a leader in this area, emphasizing both voluntary medical male circumcision and pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, two of the most effective prevention methods currently available. Other countries can learn a lot from Kenya’s experience,” Bill said.

“The fewer people infected in the first place, the fewer who will need treatment. We don’t want to just control a disease when we can end it.” 

The report is co-authored and edited by Bill and Melinda and produced in partnership with the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. 

National AIDS and STI Control Programme director Dr Martin Sirengo rolled out the Prep programme in June, targetting 80,000 people in a year. 

Pilot studies conducted in Kenya prove that if swallowed daily, the drug can prevent HIV infection by more than 96 per cent.

In July last year, Bill has also urged African countries to emulate Kenya's highly successful male circumcision programme to reduce HIV infections 

Kenya launched the VMMC programme in 2008 with an aim to circumcise 860,000 men by 2013. 

The country achieved 71 per cent of the target but surpassed target in Nyanza region where most of the implementation took place. 

In all, the report launched this week tracks 18 data points from the UN Sustainable Development Goals, or Global Goals, including child and maternal deaths, stunting, access to contraceptives, HIV, malaria, extreme poverty, financial inclusion and sanitation. 

The report looks beneath the numbers to pinpoint the leaders, approaches and innovations that made a difference. 

It highlights past progress against some of the most devastating issues facing poor countries and uses breakthrough data projections to forecast good and bad future scenarios – with millions of lives hanging in the balance. 

In their introduction, Bill and Melinda Gates express concern that shifting priorities, instability and potential budget cuts could lead the world to turn away from its commitments, jeopardizing the positive trajectory needed to end extreme poverty and wipe out diseases by 2030. 

“This report comes at a time when there is more doubt than usual about the world’s commitment to development,” Bill and Melinda Gates state in the report. “Take it from the point of view of justice, or take it from the point of view of creating a secure and stable world: development deserves our attention.” 

Bill and Melinda Gates will produce the Goalkeepers report every year through 2030, timed for the annual gathering of world leaders in New York City for the UN General Assembly. 

In 2015, world leaders committed to the Global Goals, which are focused on ending extreme poverty and fighting inequalities. 

The Goalkeepers report focuses on a subset of the indicators in the global goals and is designed to highlight best practices and help hold the Gates Foundation, its partners and leaders around the world accountable. It will document not just what is working, but where the world is falling short. 

 

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