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Aids council backs Fund's action

Friday October 9 2009

National Aids Control Council chairperson  Prof Mary Getui during a media briefing on October 9, 2009. She said the Global Fund's tough action on Kenya was right. Photo/CHRIS OJOW

National Aids Control Council chairperson Prof Mary Getui during a media briefing on October 9, 2009. She said the Global Fund's tough action on Kenya was right. Photo/CHRIS OJOW 

By PAUL JUMA

The National Aids Control Council has said the tough action on Kenya by the Global Fund is “the way to go.”

NACC chairperson Prof Mary Getui Friday told journalists that if it was true that the money, which the Global Fund released to Kenyan civil groups for fighting the Aids scourge were misused, then withdrawal of funding was in order.

However, she expressed confidence that the money had probably not been misused, but added that the matter “could be a learning experience” to Kenya.

“If at all we have not met what was expected of us, then that is the way to go,” she said.

However, Nacc director Alloys Orago allayed fears that funding could be halted. He said the Global Fund, the World Bank and the UK, through the Department for International Development (DfID), had committed to fund the government’s anti-Aids campaigns for the next five years.

Mr Orago said that the US Government had also released $565 million to be used over the next five years, while the Global Fund had committed $130 million.

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“This country has no problem accessing funds from all sources. There are no threats of the Global Fund stopping funding,” he said at a meeting with journalists in Nairobi shortly before the start of a stakeholders' meeting to discuss the issue.

The Nacc director said that although there was no evidence of the misuse claims, it was the duty of Care International Kenya to disburse the funds it had received on behalf of the civil groups.

He absolved Nacc from any blame, saying their role was only to coordinate the various campaigns against HIV and Aids.

But even as Prof Orago was expressing confidence that funding for HIV projects were not under threat, a total of Sh1.3 billion, which the Fund released to civil societies seven months ago, must be used and accounted for by next month before the body can release further allocations for HIV programmes.

The civil groups under the Kenya Consortium to Fight Aids,TB and Malaria had called for Nacc’s intervention complaining at the slow pace of implementation of their Aids programmes, which are overseen by CARE International Kenya – the funds’ custodian.

In a letter to Nacc, they expressed fears that if the matter was not addressed quickly, it could negatively impact on future rounds, and even their ability to receive funding for the programmes from elsewhere.

The standoff between the civil groups prompted Nacc to call for a meeting Friday to find a solution.

While the entire efforts to combat HIV is not threatened as part of the funds, which went directly to the government was not affected, the civil groups play a major role in supplementing government efforts in the national anti-Aids campaign.