General Officer Commanding Eastern Command (EASTCOM) Major General Luka Kutto presided over the 4th annual Kenya Defence Forces Senior Commanders Seminar themed ‘Commander’s Role in Disease Prevention’ at the Humanitarian Peace Support School in Embakasi, to brainstorm on their role in disease prevention.

The participants were taken through an overview of causes of both communicable and non-communicable diseases, alcohol, drugs and substance abuse, mental health challenges in patients with chronic diseases as well as HIV/AIDS.

Speaking during the seminar, Major General Kutto observed that current emerging and re-emerging diseases have threatened economies, health and securities of nations.

He underscored the need for commanders at all levels being able to acquire skills and knowledge to prepare them to support, prevent and control emerging public health concerns toward a soldier-centric approach to mission readiness which resonates with the seminar theme.

“Command involvement in health security is significant as they deploy and discharge their mandate towards welfare of troops in operation and peacetime locations,” said Major General Kutto.

Director of Medical Services, Major General (Dr) George Ng’ang’a urged the participants to put into practice what they have learnt during the seminar and pass it to their juniors. He pointed out that it is KDF medical team’s work to support and keep the soldiers and their families healthy.

He underscored the efforts made towards prevention and control of HIV to manageable chronic illness levels adding that the Ministry of Defence appreciates the support by the US Department of Defence Presidential Emergency Fund for Aids Relief (PEFFAR) since 2003 in the fight against the HIV/ AIDS epidemic.

The Director at National Syndemic Disease Control Council (NSDCC) Dr Ruth Laibon Masha stated that limit of access to stigma free HIV and STI prevention and treatment services in remote or conflict-affected areas may result to delayed diagnosis and linkage to care. She added that the NSDCC wants the government and National agencies to have broad training programs.

The seminar put forward resolutions and workable parameters in dealing with emerging diseases.

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