UN warns Kenya over donors cash cut in war on HIV

Business Daily (Kenya) - - ECONOMY & POLITICS - Edwin Mutai emu­tai@ke.na­tion­media.com About 1.5 mil­lion Kenyans are HIV pos­i­tive, with more than twothirds on treat­ment

The United Na­tions has warned Kenya against con­tin­ued re­liance on for­eign donors to fund the fight against HIV/AIDS pan­demic in the coun­try.

Dr Cather­ine Sozi, the UNAIDS re­gional di­rec­tor for East and South­ern Africa told the Na­tional Assem­bly’s com­mit­tee on Health to ex­plore other ways of fund­ing the fight in­clud­ing en­hanc­ing na­tional bud­getary al­lo­ca­tion and en­cour­age pri­vate sec­tor to fund pro­grammes to bring down the ris­ing cases of new HIV in­fec­tion among the youth.

“We know that donor fund­ing is dwin­dling and it will reach a point when the support will end. It is crit­i­cal for you as Mem­bers of Par­lia­ment to start look­ing at how to fund the HIV/AIDS pro­grammes,” Ms Sozi, who was ac­com­pa­nied by Dr Jan­tine Ja­cobi, the UNAIDS coun­try di­rec­tor told the com­mit­tee that was chaired by Nd­hiwa MP Martin Owino.

Dr Sozi said the US gov­ern­ment last year do­nated $500 mil­lion to­wards the fight in Kenya and that the level of fund­ing was dwin­dling.

The UN of­fi­cials told MPS that UNAIDS re­cent study shows that new HIV/AIDS in­fec­tions among youth aged 15 to 24 years were on the rise.

She said the young peo­ple are most vul­ner­a­ble be­cause they lack knowl­edge on HIV,

We should be con­cerned of epi­demic in the ter­tiary in­sti­tu­tions. It’s a com­bi­na­tion of things ...” CATHER­INE SOZI | UNAIDS RE­GIONAL DI­REC­TOR

face stigma, poverty and so­cial cul­tural is­sues.

About 1.5 mil­lion Kenyans are HIV pos­i­tive, with more than two-thirds on treat­ment, thanks to donors such as In­ter­na­tional fi­nanc­ing or­gan­i­sa­tion, The Global Fund.

The num­ber of new in­fec­tions in Kenya has al­most halved over the last decade to 80,000 a year, of­fi­cial data show, due to in­creased test­ing, treat­ment and aware­ness.

Ds Sozi said men were the most vul­ner­a­ble be­cause they are not go­ing for HIV tests. “But 50 per cent of new in­fec­tions has been recorded among the youth,” she Sozi said.

“We should be con­cerned of epi­demic in the ter­tiary in­sti­tu­tions. It’s a com­bi­na­tion of things in­clud­ing ac­cess to cor­rect in­for­ma­tion. Young kids don’t know what HIV is and how they can pre­vent it. We have failed our young peo­ple,” Dr Sozi said.

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