NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 10 – President Mwai Kibaki has directed the Ministry of Finance to allocate more funds to the fight against HIV/AIDS, particularly the purchase of Anti-Retroviral Drugs.
President Kibaki said although resources are scarce, the government will not waver in its anti-HIV/AIDS programmes.
“We are committed to ensuring that the fight against HIV/AIDS goes on uninterrupted,” President Kibaki said.
The president was speaking on Friday at his Harambee House office during a meeting with members of the Champions for an HIV-Free Generation, an association launched by former Botswana President Festus Mogae in 2008.
The Head of State, at the same time, emphasised the need for all Kenyans to individually take up the fight against the scourge by actively participating in activities aimed at putting new infections at bay.
President Kibaki strongly advocated for the decentralization of the fight against HIV/AIDS, saying the pandemic should be tackled from all fronts and at all levels.
“I do not agree with the suggestion that HIV/AIDS programmes be centralized, instead I am advocating for the involvement of all Kenyans at all levels,” President Kibaki said.
Speaking during the meeting, members of the Champions for an HIV-Free Generation led by their chairman, former Botswana President Festus Mogae, commended Kenya for the progress it has made in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
The members of the Champions for an HIV-Free Generation endorsed the interventions the Kenya Government has put in place towards curbing the scourge.
They particularly lauded Kenya’s efforts in the prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV/AIDS.
The Champions for an HIV-Free Generation members also thanked President Kibaki for being at the forefront in spreading the gospel against HIV/AIDS.
They encouraged other leaders in the country not to disengage but instead step up the fight as a way of ensuring that the pandemic does not undermine the country’s economic growth.
“We are impressed by the progress Kenya has made in the fight against HIV/AIDS but we are encouraging you to do more as part of your contribution towards an HIV/AIDS-free generation,” Mogae said.
Former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa, who is also a member of the Champions for an HIV-Free Generation association, commended the implementation of the male circumcision programme in communities that previously did not engage in male circumcision, saying scientific studies have proved that HIV/AIDS infection can be reduced by up to 60pc through male circumcision.
Mkapa also underscored the need for behavioural change among all sexually active people as a way of stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Other speakers included former Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda, ministers Beth Mugo, Esther Murugi, Anyang’ Nyong’o and Njeru Githae who outlined what their respective ministries were doing in bolstering the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Present were acting Minister for Internal Security and Defence Minister Yusuf Haji, Assistant Minister Wavinya Ndeti and senior government officials led by acting Head of Public Service and Secretary to the Cabinet Francis Kimemia.