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Jielimishe Uzazi na Afya Activity

Pregnant adolescents and young women are highly vulnerable to HIV, with poor HIV testing coverage and high rates of HIV-related mortality and mother-to-child transmission of HIV globally. Kenya, with a high rate of adolescent pregnancy, also has high female adolescent HIV prevalence. This creates parallel risks of unplanned pregnancy and HIV for young women, and of vertical HIV transmission for their infants.

AIDSFree’s Jielimishe Uzazi na Afya (JUA) activity helps HIV-positive and -negative adolescent girls (age 10–19) and their children (age 0–2) to better access critical antenatal and postnatal care services addressing HIV testing, care, and treatment; prevention of mother-to-child transmission; and early childhood development.

Jielimishe Uzazi na Afya is Kiswahili, meaning “to take pride in parenthood and health”; the abbreviation JUA means “learn, get enlightened.” Working through community-based organizations, the model has three parts:

  1. Peer-led individual mentoring of pregnant adolescents/mothers on skills needed to access, use, and remain in antenatal and postnatal care, including prevention of mother-to-child transmission services.
  2. Targeted support for caregivers, households, and partners of pregnant adolescents and adolescent mothers to address structural barriers to care, decrease stigma and discrimination, and mobilize support.
  3. Supervisory support to ensure a team-based approach grounded in quality assurance.

The program works with 24 home visiting team cadres totaling 80 members in western Kenya (Kisumu and Homa Bay counties) who are reaching 192 pregnant adolescents/mothers and children. It is expanding to Nairobi’s informal settlements in summer 2018.