We have now conducted, and are still conducting, several research studies involving street-connected children and youth. These studies have investigated topics related to substance use, sexual and reproductive health, uptake of HIV testing and care, the use of Voluntary Male Medical Circumcision as the base for a coming-of-age retreat among them with the intention of reducing HIV transmission among them, among others. We have an active Peer Navigator program involving two individuals with close links to the street youth community whose job it is to educate and sensitize the street youth community about health and HIV more specifically, and link them to HIV testing, and if HIV-positive, to care and treatment. Our ‘home base’ for the research and care is the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital Rafiki Center for Excellence in Adolescent Health, launched in November 2016.
We started providing basic healthcare services and referrals through our research, in part not to force SCY to have to participate in research in order to access care. This has helped to build strong bridges with the SCY community in Eldoret, and enabled us to do excellent research in this population while upholding their right to health as much as possible. In September 2016 we conducted a Point in Time (PIT) count of SCY in and around Eldoret, which is a census like technique used in North America to count homeless populations, including homeless youth. Together with program implementers, policy stakeholders, government officials, and broad community engagement, we are breaking trail in an effort to better understand, and more importantly address, the profound basic needs of this vulnerable population.