Kenya has finally received a cash grant of Ksh38 billion ($368.6 million) from the Global Fund to finance malaria, HIV and tuberculosis programmes in the country.
The three year grant contained in six agreements meant for 2018-2021 was approved on Friday following an approval in August and will see Treasury and two non-governmental organisations African Medical Research Foundation (AMREF) and Kenya Red Cross Society receive the funds.
With the grant of Ksh25 billion ($242.5 million), an estimate 1.3 million Kenyans living with HIV will be able to access lifesaving antiretroviral treatment drugs. The country has committed an additional Ksh13 billion (US$130 million) to investments in these three leading killer diseases.
Signing the deal, Cabinet Secretary of the National Treasury, Henry Rotich, who signed the agreements said: “We are pleased that we can all work together in the fight against diseases. Through this investment, we will accelerate our efforts to respond to HIV, TB and malaria with the aim of ending the devastating effects of these diseases in our country.”
Three grants worth Ksh26.3 billion ($255.1 million) will be handled by Treasury while the remaining three will be implemented by Amref ($44.6 million) and Kenya Red Cross ($68.8 million).
According to a breakdown issued by the Ministry of Health, the funding that will be managed by two principal recipients; The National Treasury (Sh17.9 billion) and Kenya Red Cross ($68.8 million) will also be used for HIV testing services, elimination of mother-to-child-transmission of HIV as well as addressing barriers that affect access to services among other things.
Ksh6.7 billion ($64.9 million) has been allocated to malaria. The largest chunk of this money which runs up to the tune of Ksh5.4 billion ($52.3 million) will be controlled by the Treasury as Amref Health Africa gets Ksh1.3 billion ($12.6 million) for provision of 6.3 million doses of anti-malarial drugs known as Artemisinin Combination Therapy (ACTs), 5.8 million malaria rapid diagnostic kits and 7.9 million bed nets in malaria endemic regions.
Finally, a Global Fund Tuberculosis (TB) management grant of Ksh6.3 billion ($61.1 million) has also been released. The ministry once again allocated Ksh3.3 billion ($32 million) to Amref Health Africa as Treasury got Ksh3 billion ($29.1 million).
The money, Cabinet Secretary for Health Dr Cleopa Mailu noted will be used to procure TB medicines, equipment, diagnostic supplies and therapeutic feeds.
“This money is also meant to supplement government efforts by putting about 338,550 new TB cases on treatment by 2021,” noted a statement by Dr Mailu.
The fund is also expected provide medicines to 1,800 drug resistant TB patients by June 2021 as well as facilitate capacity building for community health workers.
Unlike the August approval of Ksh36 billion ($349.2 million), the Ministry got an extra Ksh2 billion ($19.4 million) as a catalytic funding —an investment in programs and activities that can trigger impact in specific key areas in the fight against the three diseases.
This money is expected to be invested in special programs that focus on issues such as human rights, adolescent girls and young women and other people most affected by HIV and TB.
Kenya submitted a funding application to the Global Fund in May, amid a tussle between the national and county governments on who should have sent the request, since health is now a devolved function.
Currently, the system allows the grants from the organisation — which exclusively funds programmes on malaria, HIV and tuberculosis — to be received first by the national government, which acts as the principal recipient.
The ministry then determines how the money is allocated to counties. The programmes financed by the Global Fund to fight Aids, TB and malaria fall under the director of Medical Services, Dr Jackson Kioko.
To date, the fund, which was set up in 2002, has disbursed nearly Ksh91.6 billion ($887.9 million) to the Treasury.
In the 2015-2017 cycle, Kenya signed seven grant agreements for Ksh33 billion ($320.1 million) to expand interventions for HIV, tuberculosis and malaria.
At least Ksh21.9 billion ($212.4 million) would see about 600,000 more Kenyans with HIV put on antiretroviral treatment by the end of this year. The grants would also support programmes for prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV.