by Jane Sinyei-Amare
Jane Sinyei-Amare is the UN Plus Coordinator in Kenya, once a chair of the global UN Plus Advisory Committee and an active member of UN Plus. She has been part of the workplace HIV program for the last 20 years in difference agencies and country offices.
I discovered my HIV status when I joined the UN system. That was 25 years ago! Information that was rife at the workplace was eventual death. My mind was pre-occupied on how I would leave this world at a time that my son, then a baby could be able to take care of himself. Now, that mindset has changed to hope and on how to impact the same on those affected around me. Further, when I found love some ten years ago, some of my lady colleagues got together to pray over me and my intention before approaching me to dissuade me from going ahead with such a union. Recently I got married to the same man, this time around there were many remarks that I had given many hope of taking the knot at old age. Inside me, I knew many had in mind more on my status rather than the age.UN Plus Kenya was launched in July 2007, the 2nd to be launched in Africa after the Malawi Chapter. Its membership was in the 80s, however this number now stands at 74 after some members either retired, found jobs in different regions or were separated.
Before 2003, we had lost not less than 32 staff due to AIDS related illnesses. The management put in place a treatment policy that enable staff living with HIV access treatment and care at 100% medical insurance cover. The insurance administrators met the 80% cost while the different agencies respectively met the 20% portion from their office budget. The deaths currently have come down drastically, the reason we see more people making it to retirement.
UN Plus works closely with UN Cares and the UN Clinic (UN Joint Medical Service – UN JMS) in the area of prevention and support to staff living with HIV and their dependents, in particular access to treatment and care including support therapy. The children who were brought together for support in May 2010 are now youth. In June and September 2018, these young adults were offered a group therapy to assist them in coping with the challenges and dilemmas they encounter frequently as they grow up with HIV.Continues to Part 2…..(Editor’s note: for the “One Stop Clinic” that helped reduce the deaths among UN staff members living with HIV in Kenya, please see our study)
Continues to Part 2…..(Editor’s note: for the “One Stop Clinic” that helped reduce the deaths among UN staff members living with HIV in Kenya, please see our study)