They say that big changes begin from small steps. But with the HIV epidemic in Kenya, leaps of faith are crucial. The Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) allied with Hewlett-Packard (HP) to provide treatments to more than 120,000 infants exposed to HIV in Kenya each year. The alliance intends to slowly break this cycle through structural and systemic improvements in the testing and the treatment of HIV.
The collaboration was facilitated at the Clinton Global Initiative’s 2010 annual meeting.
This collaboration is in itself a breakthrough. HIV test results in Kenya usually take two to three months which is detrimental especially to infants. Infants diagnosed with HIV must begin retro-viral treatments immediately to deter death.
In the absence of swift treatments, half of HIV-positive infants are unlikely to live past the age of two. HP with support from CHAI and the Kenya Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation, is providing technology that will capture, manage and return early infant diagnosis (EID) HIV test results in just two days.
“Technology and innovation are key to solving many of the most pressing challenges of our world, none of which are more urgent than a disease which takes the lives of 31 children every minute,” said President Clinton.
President Clinton highlights the social impact that takes place when private-public partnerships are created and commended HP’s efforts to join the battle and help curb Kenya’s HIV epidemic.
“I’m pleased HP’s technology and expertise will enable the partnership with CHAI to save the lives of more than 100,000 infants in Kenya each year, and in the process, demonstrate how the private sector can and should operate in the developing world,” he said.
HP has five HP data centers connected with four existing laboratories. They expect to process test results of approximately 70,000 infants. In addition, they will provide real-time medical data to health practitioners throughout Kenya.
“Technological innovation holds immense promise for addressing societal challenges,” said Leo Apotheker, HP president and chief executive officer. “Our efforts with CHAI and the Kenya Ministry of Health demonstrate the critical role technology can play in improving access to healthcare worldwide and driving positive change for millions of people.”
The system also will scale to support Kenya’s Ministry of Public Health & Sanitation as it expands Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission (PMTCT) services to more than 3,000 facilities during the next two years.
However, HP’s efforts do not end with the transfer of technology. HP is also helping CHAI and the Kenya Ministry of Public Health & Sanitation, by supporting students from Strathmore University in Nairobi, Kenya. The university has developed a custom database application that uses cloud computing to improve the tracking process and making the test results accessible online. This is also accompanied by SMS/GSM enabled printers in real-time that can communicated with rural health centers informing them of test results status.
Strathmore students were able to build the application using HP technology labs that were installed in Nairobi last year. This was made possible through HP’s financial and consultative support. The new database application also allows real-time analytics on the performance of the program to Ministry of Health decision makers.
HP’s $1 million investment also includes servers, storage, PCs, networking equipment, SMS-enabled printers, and local IT training and support.
“The impact of the work done by HP and CHAI is incredibly significant and will help create healthy futures for families across Kenya,” said Beth Mugo, Kenyan minister for Public Health & Sanitation. “It will also support our Government’s effort to collect and analyze health data that is useful for guiding policy and health service delivery,”
“We believe these efforts will facilitate our ability to provide long-term health interventions that truly make a difference in keeping our population healthy and productive,” he added.