, NAIROBI, Kenya, July 7 – President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday met and held talks with the UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé who paid him a courtesy call at his Harambee House office.
During the talks, President Kenyatta lauded the UN for its substantial support of health programmes in the country.
He affirmed his government’s commitment to working with the UN to ensure prudent use of available resources in combating the spread of AIDS.
“My government shares the UN’s philosophy of control of AIDS, among other diseases. We need to pool resources to solve our common health problems,” President Kenyatta said.
He urged the UN to support production of ARVs at the regional level to reduce the cost of managing HIV/AIDS, citing Uganda, which has a manufacturing plant.
He regretted that in spite of Africa being the source of ingredients to manufacture medicine, developed countries continued to manufacture the drugs and sell to the continent.
Saying health was the core business of any society, President Kenyatta added that his government was focusing on preventive health to ensure a healthy nation.
He also noted that by concentrating on prevention, the country would release funds that might have been spent on curative care to support other priority areas of the economy.
He said that government had increased the budgetary allocation to the health sector this financial year, despite devolution of certain health functions to the counties, in line with the constitution.
Sidibé said the UN would support the continent to utilize its medicinal trees, among other natural resources, to manufacture HIV/AIDS management drugs thereby reducing imports from India and other countries.
“Countries manufacturing drugs are sourcing most of the raw materials from Africa. With financial and technical support, African countries can utilize the natural resources at their disposal to make cheaper drugs,” he added.
Sidibé commended the First Lady Margaret Kenyatta for her “Beyond Zero” initiative that aims at lowering maternal and child mortality in the country.
The UNAIDS Executive Director also said the devolution being implemented in the country was a role model for the world.
Deputy President William Ruto, and Health Cabinet Secretary, James Macharia also attended the talks – PSCU.