Protests mount over unspent AIDS billions

April 25, 2012 3:02 pm

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They said that Kenya should also be involved in planning for the use of the funds/MIKE KARIUKI

AIROBI, Kenya, April 25 – More than 500 AIDS activists and Persons Living with HIV/AIDS have issued a memorandum to health officials seeking to compel both Kenya and the US government to make available Sh41.5billion of unspent cash from the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.

Singing slogans at the Laico regency on Wednesday where US ambassador Scott Gration was at a function, the activists stated that the funds would make the lives of people living with HIV bearable.

They said that Kenya should also be involved in planning for the use of the funds.

“We want to lobby through the Ministry of Health for people who are HIV positive to receive treatment and at the same time tell the US government that they need to involve Kenyans in planning,” declared one of the activists.

They are further urging the government to get rid of bureaucracy that may delay quick access to the funds.

“It is money that had already been set aside for Kenya. If they do not do that, then this money will not come down and I think that the government will not be able to meet its promise of putting one million Kenyans on Antiretroviral treatment by 2015.”

That is what the Ministry of Special Programmes had promised last year, and we want it done. We want the government to ask for the funds.”

The National Aids/Std Control Programme (NASCOP) Acting Director Peter Cherutich who received the petition on behalf of the government said the issue was being looked into.

“We have a national plan and we are operating according to it. At least in the next two to three years, as far as funding is concerned, we have an assurance that we will meet all our targets,” he said.

“Going beyond that, it will be nice to make sure that we are efficient in the way we do business, that the way money flows is even more efficient.,”

It is estimated that Kenya has 1.5 million people living with HIV/AIDS and only 500,000 are receiving Anti-retroviral treatment.


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