US pledges help for Kenyan slums

October 15, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 15 – United States Special representative for the Secretary of State for global partnerships Ambassador Elizabeth Frawley Bagley has pledged to mobilise resources to provide medical supplies to slum dwellers.

Amb Bagley said on Wednesday that this would especially be in Mukuru slums where the dwellers lacked items like bed nets to protect against malaria despite the disease being a leading killer for children under the age of five years.

 “We are going to get together with USAID and the president’s malaria initiative and get them bed nets. We are also going to talk to someone about solar panels, try and get more medical supplies,” she said.

Amb Bagley said corruption and lack of delivery was part of the reason why some developed nations feared to provide resources to developing countries.

“If you are giving the money and sometimes it gets in the wrong hands that’s a big problem. We want to teach Africans how to help themselves. A lot of it used to be throwing money at a problem, may be it didn’t always get there and even if it did, you are creating a class of people that are just used to being given charity,” she said.

Speaking to Capital News after touring the slum, she said the living conditions in the area were deplorable and needed to be changed.

“Sanitation was non-existent, piles of rubbish everywhere, no water, and this was a difficult picture to see,” she and added that although there was no sign of despair in the children coming from the various schools in the slum, they need a lot of help.

The special representative also visited a HIV/AIDS testing centre in the area.

“We were told that young boys between the ages of 15 and 24 years visit the centre more for testing than girls of the same age and we know that girls are at higher risk of infection due to sexual violation,” she said.

The United States is a major financier to Kenya’s HIV/AIDS programs through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).


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