, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 16 – Kenya says it is “tired by constant threats to block funding” by the Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
Medical Services Minister Professor Anyang’ Nyong’o said on Tuesday that Kenya should now aim at building a domestic capacity to produce its own antiretroviral drugs.
Kenya recently missed out on billions of shillings from the international financing institution due to errors in proposal documents and failure to exhaust funds that were granted in 2002.
“We have people with enough knowledge of pharmacology in this country. We have entrepreneurs, investors who would be interested in having factories here to produce ARVs so we should prepare and rise above this kind of intimidation. We have been independent for 40 years,” the Minister said.
It is also not yet clear whether the country would secure rounds eight and nine of the fund and the Permanent Secretary Professor James Ole Kiyiapi said they were yet to receive official communication from the Global Fund.
“Once we receive official communication, we will know which one (round) passed and which one failed because there were several proposals,” he said.
“Also there are already ongoing funded programmes including the $127 million that is within the country so it is not like everything will stop if we lose out,” the PS added.
He said at the start of the next financial year in June, the government would consider increasing allocation of HIV treatment from the current Sh500 million to Sh1.5 billion.
“The government is going to reverse the excessive dependency on donors for ARVs. In fact beginning this financial year we are going to move from the 10 percent government support to 30 percent plus exploring the possibilities of manufacturing cheaper generics,” Professor Kiyiapi said.
“So there are measures coming up but we are tired of being intimidated!”
Government statistics indicate that there are 360,000 people on anti retroviral treatment out of which 25,000 are government funded.
Global fund which is a major partner supports 130,000 people while the rest access treatment through various development partners like the US President Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
The two were speaking at the inauguration of a new management board for the Kenya Medical Training College which will be chaired by Professor Julius Meme, a former Chief Executive Officer of Kenyatta National Hospital.