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Case blocks Kenya Aids funds

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 7 – The government on Tuesday revealed that although Kenya had already received the seventh round of funding from the Global Fund for HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and malaria programmes, the money would not be readily available as they await a court ruling following a disputed tender.

Medical Services Permanent Secretary James Ole Kiyiapi said that although Kenya qualified for a new round of funding after solving a controversy surrounding Sh8.6 billion lost in 2002, two firms were now embroiled in a tender dispute.

“The money is in the country but the biggest problem we have is a court case where a procurement process that took place was challenged but it is being dealt with and we hope that the ruling will be given in the shortest time possible,” he said.

Speaking as he received anti-malarial drugs donated by the Chinese government to Kenya, Prof Kiyiapi defended the country’s use of the Global Fund cash, saying that there was no mismanagement.

“There was a total misunderstanding that global funds were misused in the country. It is not that we got the money and misused it. Kenya was unable to absorb the money on time and because global funds are time bound you are given around five years and in those five years you are supposed to spend a certain amount of money failure to which the money remaining is taken from you and future funding cut,” he declared.

He also stated that that the Country’s funds Coordinating Mechanism which is the body that manages the Global Funds activities in the country had been streamlined to become more transparent and avert future misappropriation of funds.

“We are actually strengthening the CCM and making it more open and accountable. The development partners, our own government, civil society, the private sector and everyone else are all involved,” stated Prof Kiyiapi.

He also said that Kenya had applied for a new mode of funding under the National Strategic Application which would focus on the funding for HIV/AIDS programmes.

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“It is a new method of applying for global fund for the pandemic and Kenya is among the first African countries to apply for funding and we hope we will succeed. We will however continue doing business with the Global Fund,” he pointed out.

Asked what the government was doing to curb the issue of counterfeit herbal contraceptives that had allegedly come from China, Prof Kiyiapi strongly pointed out that the issue was a global problem and could not be traced out to a specific country.

“The counterfeits can come from a neighboring country and it would be unfair to point out a specific country.  The problem with counterfeits is that we cannot tell the source. The only thing we can do is perhaps ask the Chinese government to help us handle this issue,” held Prof Kiyiapi.

He added that the government was now calling on all traditional herbalists to register their products with the Pharmacy and Poisons Board so as to facilitate regulation on what products Kenyans were consuming.

“We have also come up with a new policy to deal with the issue of traditional medicines. We need to define the guidelines on how to use them. Consumer awareness is another thing we have undertaken but citizens must also take responsibility. Don’t just go taking in anything believing you will get cured,” he said.

He however noted that the policy was yet to become official as it had to wait for the Cabinet’s approval adding that some of the provisions were already being implemented.

“We want an official policy paper but it has to go to Cabinet and then as soon as it passes it will be forwarded to Parliament to become a sessional paper and then it will become a new policy. So we hope that within this financial year it will have gone up to Cabinet,” explained Prof Kiyiapi.

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