Kisumu County in Kenya is challenged with one of the highest rates of HIV in East Africa, where 1 in 7 are infected.
In Homa Bay, a place where the burden of AIDS was staggering, the community struggled to attract doctors, leaving nurses to provide the vast majority of care for this highly populated place.
Thanks to dedicated, professional nurses like Edwin Obreen Koko, progress is steady. Just a few years ago, nearly every child was either affected by or infected with HIV, but finally the the tide of death and suffering has been reversed.
Enormous public health efforts to provide non-judgmental, humanistic care to people living with HIV are paying off.
Edwin works out of a small room, quietly providing life-saving care and treatment to pregnant women living with HIV; obstetrical care; and providing antiretroviral medications to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV to the newborn babies.
Over the past 5 years, he has attended to the birth of over 2,000 babies, nearly all born HIV-free – delivering to his village the promise of an AIDS-free generation.
Because of his attentive, plainspoken yet extraordinary work, pediatric AIDS has essentially been eliminated from his village and a generation of healthy children is living testimony to his humanism in medicine.
Like so many nurses, Edwin does not look for praise or attention, but this May 11, at the United Nations, the Nurses With Global Impact team will be honoring Edwin as one of 21 extraordinary nurses.
I am deeply honored to be able to deliver this prestigious award to Edwin, as we celebrate International Nurses Day, and nurses around the globe who consistently, lovingly, and professional provide quality care – including under the most difficult circumstances.
We appreciate the opportunity to share Edwin’s inspiring story, and to support his important work for years to come.