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Kenya could lose Sh8.6b for HIV programs

NAIROBI, July 11 – Kenya risks losing Sh8.6 billion funding from the Global Fund following failure by the government to exhaust Sh7 billion donated to help in the fight against the HIV scourge.

The National Aids Control Council (NACC) received the funds in 2002, with which it was supposed to set up programs to mitigate the spread of the disease and also provide anti retroviral treatment (ARV) to those infected. The money was from the Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis.

NACC admitted Friday that it was still holding Sh3 billion (of the Sh7 billion allocated five years ago in round 2 of the Global Fund initiative) which it must spend by the end of November if it was to qualify for disbursement of an additional Sh8.6 billion for the next round.

NACC Director Professor Alloys Orago further revealed that the country was behind schedule in the implementation of round 7 of the Global Fund which was earmarked for the year 2007/2008. However, failure to complete the programs scheduled for round two led to the delays in financing of round 7.

Rounds three, four, five and six of the Global Fund dealt with the control and treatment of malaria, TB and other communicable diseases.

“We are working with all the civil society groups that accessed money for round two which is already earmarked for expenditure in the work plans of 29 civil society groups. Part of it is already put into acquiring anti retroviral drugs,” said professor Orago.
Professor Orago disclosed that they have also applied for another Sh8.6 billion for round eight, which was yet to be approved.
He further stated that if the funds were approved, Sh5.3 billion would go to ARV’s while Sh1.3 billion would be used for strengthening civil society organisations, which he said were better placed to reach the local communities.
He added that Sh1 billion would be for nutritional supplements while a further Sh1.2 billion would be for strengthening home-based care.
“We have discovered that we need to ensure that anyone on ARV’s is well fed,” he noted.
At the same time, the council warned it would cut funding for HIV/AIDS to fraudulent NGO’s that received the money but failed to spend it as required.
The director however said they were yet to establish the number of ‘briefcase’ organisations and how much money had gone to them and said investigations were on course.
“Once the investigations are through we are going to actually publish the names of the organizations in the media. They are not going to get money this time round because we are insisting that they must be registered and (are) submitting annual returns,” Orago said.
“Secondly, anybody who is going to get money must be known by both the constituency and district teams.” 
Orago said currently there were 212, 000 people on ARV therapy, out of the 430,000 who require the treatment.
“And through our rapid response initiative the recruitment now stands at about 5,000 people for treatment per month.”
The National Aids Control Council has previously cut off funding to fraudulent non-governmental organisations, while the government suspended operations of others that did not have proper documentation for their funding.

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