Ukimwi: Veteran KBC News Anchor Who Coined Famous Term [VIDEO]

  • Former KBC News Anchor Edward Kadilo.
    Former KBC News Anchor Edward Kadilo.
  • Former KBC news anchor has recounted how his team and himself coined the phrase UKIMWI, the Kiswahili equivalent of the abbreviation HIV/AIDS.

    In a video that surfaced online on Sunday, August 30, veteran journalist Edward Kadilo recounted that the term was born out of their reporting in 1980s after the disease hit the country.

    He disclosed that at the time, very few understood what the disease was and it was up to reporters to help Kenyans better understand the emerging disease.

    "During the 1980s, when the dangerous HIV disease was all the rage, it had an English name and it was up to the journalist to break down its meaning.

    KBC main office entrance located along Harry Thuku Road, off University Way in the Nairobi city centre.
    KBC main office entrance located along Harry Thuku Road, off University Way in the Nairobi city centre.

    "We did our research from experts. They broke down its meaning to us. At KBC, we were the first people to coin the name before it spread. We called scientists from the University of Nairobi (UoN) who agreed with the name," he explained.

    The name, he added, was an abbreviation for, Ukosefu wa Kinga Mwilini, a translation of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

    Neighbouring Kiswahili-speaking countries adopted it as the official name of the deadly virus.

    "In our broadcasts, we used the official English name (Human Immunodeficiency Virus - HIV) before translating it into Swahili and people understood what the disease was.

    "Other Kiswahili-speaking countries that were trying to coin their own names adopted ours after they saw how we broke it down," he added.

    In a  2018 interview, Kadilo disclosed that he loved working in the media industry since his childhood and even after retirement, he still visited KTN to help journalists. 

    HIV in Kenya

    According to the United Nations, the first case of the virus in the country was reported in 1984 and grew to become one of the major causes of mortality.

    The epidemic affected all sections of society – children, youth, adults, women as well as men and saw a spike in the number of orphaned children.

    In 2008, key populations that had the highedst prevalence rate based on the mode of transmission included sex workers and their clients and people who inject drugs among others.

    Below is the video: