Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Hitch ‘won’t delay Aids drugs’

The Kenya Aids Indicator survey report of 2009 shows that 3.8 per cent, or almost half of those infected with HIV, are young people aged between 15 and 24 years. The HIV/Aids care and treatment programme is keeping students, the group most affected by the disease, in schools and colleges. Photos/FILE

The Kenya Aids Indicator survey report of 2009 shows that 3.8 per cent, or almost half of those infected with HIV, are young people aged between 15 and 24 years. The HIV/Aids care and treatment programme is keeping students, the group most affected by the disease, in schools and colleges. Photos/FILE  

By JEFF OTIENO

Supply of anti-retroviral drugs will not be interrupted despite Kenya missing out on crucial Sh21 billion funding.

The Ministry of Public Health on Tuesday said that the country currently had Sh24.67 billion from the Global Fund “with potential for a lot more in phase two of the grant.”

The announcement comes a few days after the government’s application for more funds for HIV/Aids and malaria programmes was rejected by the Global Fund on technicalities and the country’s poor record with the organisation.

Kenya has already appealed the decision.

“Although we have not received official communication from the Global Fund Board on the outcome of both appeals, the government, in collaboration with its partners, has developed a strategy to ensure that our national response to HIV is not interrupted,” said a statement from the ministry.

Currently, there are 360,000 patients on ARVs, a programme jointly supported by the government, the US President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief, the Global Fund, and the Clinton Foundation.

The relationship between Kenya and the fund has been thorny, with the latter accusing the government of failing to use the grants received efficiently and transparently.

The statement signed by the ministry’s public relations officer, Mr John Kinuthia, said the extra funding for Round Nine, whose application was rejected, would have been used for prevention and treatment of HIV/Aids and malaria.

Mr Kinuthia said the country was currently implementing the Global Fund Round Seven HIV grants, worth Sh10.4 billion, which runs from June 2009 to May, 2014.

The ministry also announced that Kenya recently signed an agreement for Sh202.5 billion with the US government to support HIV programmes. The money will be disbursed in the next five years.

On malaria, the ministry said there was a grant worth Sh12.15 billion for medicines, indoor residual spraying, and insecticide treated nets for pregnant women and children.

The funding ends next year and Sh7.65 billion has so far been disbursed. A further Sh4.5 billion will be received before the end of the year.

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