Friday, February 12, 2010

Kenya misses out on Aids funds

By SATURDAY NATION Team

Kenya has missed out on crucial funding worth over $270 million (about Sh21 billion) that could cripple ongoing anti-malaria and HIV programmes.

Late last year, Kenya’s application for funding from the Global Fund on Aids, TB and malaria for $270 million was rejected on technicalities and the country’s poor record with the organisation.

However, at the fund’s board meeting in Ethiopia in December, the minister for Public Health and Sanitation, Mrs Beth Mugo, pleaded the country’s case and was allowed to appeal for the two-year funding. It is this re-application that has been rejected.

“Our under-performance has been the main undoing,” a senior officer with the National Aids and STDs Control Council told the Saturday Nation by telephone on Saturday.

According to a report on the fund’s appeal panel, the Global Fund upheld almost all the decisions made by its technical committee last year while rejecting Kenya’s Round 9 application.

On Kenya’s appeal for malaria funding for example, the panel upholds that the decision made initially by the technical team was sound and saw no need to reverse it.

The appeal panel further says: “We would like to draw Kenya’s attention to the fundamental weaknesses in the application and would like to encourage Kenya to address these through the future submission of a proposal.”

On the HIV funds appeal, amounting to more than $75 million, the panel says the Kenyan application had major weakness which include lack of clarity and how the government plans to address past accounting problems.

According to a source at the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation, funding for tuberculosis may not be affected.

The bad news could send government officials into panic. More than 100,000 patients on ARV treatment under the fund’s supported programmes face a bleak future.

For a couple of months now, the Ministry of Health had placed its hope on the success of the appeal to be able to supply ARV drugs.

The Global Fund is a UN agency which disburses funding to Kenya and other countries to fight HIV/Aids, malaria and tuberculosis.

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