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Condom row beyond Kenya Aids agency

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 9 – The government agency in charge of mobilising and coordinating resources for prevention of HIV/AIDS transmission has absolved itself from the sub-standard condoms saga.

National Aids Control Council (NACC) Director Professor Alloys Orago said on Friday that it was not the responsibility of the council to ensure quality condoms come into the country.

“It’s not an area where NACC should actually be involved. Our role is to mobilise resources, provide them to those who are implementing – the Ministries of health,” Professor Orago said.

This is despite the fact that condom use is one of the strategies the council has adopted to prevent spread of HIV/AIDS.

“Determining what condoms get into the country is the responsibility of the Kenya Bureau of Standards. The condoms probably got in without being checked, how then does NACC take responsibility?” he wondered.

Professor Orago however admitted that the sale of leaking condoms could affect the efforts to reduce new infections.

“The pores that are perceived to be in condoms are very small. The virus itself is 20 times less in size compared to a water molecule that will pass through those pores. So when a pore can actually let water pass through it is very big and that is not acceptable,” he explained.

“Again in the spirit of collective responsibility, you don’t go and hit somebody below the belt when you have told them they have done the wrong thing.”

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The government recently placed a ban on the hot brand of condoms after it was found to be 100 percent ineffective and leaked when in use. This was after the new consignment of the brand had circulated in the country for two months.

Meanwhile, the government agency admitted that there was a problem with utilisation of the global funds in the country.

Professor Orago said there was a slow disbursement of funds because of lack of proper accountability.

He said resources would no longer be provided just for the sake but must be accompanied by accurate accounting of previous funds given to the implementers of HIV/AIDS related projects.

“For the first time we have a principal recipient who is non-government (Care International) and they seem to have a problem. Our role now is to find out where their perceived problem is and come up with a mechanism of resolving it,” he said.

Newly appointed Chairperson Professor Mary Getui said if Kenya missed out on allocation of the fund, it would be used as a learning experience and added that the council in its strategic plan would put in place accounting mechanisms to avoid misappropriation of the funds.

“Whatever has not been done right if at all, then we will put our effort and what I know is that the global fund has various rounds and we could put our machinery in place so that we still continue to get the support,” Professor Getui said.

They however insisted that the country had no problem accessing HIV related funds even from development partners and said about Sh60.8 billion was already available from development partners.

Professor Orago said there was about Sh8.6 billion available from the World Bank, DFID and Kenyan government until 2012.  Round seven of the global fund had Sh9.8 billion for the next five years and the United States government had committed to make available about Sh42.4 billion annually for the next five years.

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The use of global fund in the country has been rocked by controversy with claims of misappropriation of the monies which could see the country locked out of the crucial funds.

The fund targets HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis.


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