The Global Fund, the body that finances the world’s HIV, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria programmes, has given Kenya Ksh42 billion ($420 million) to cover the intervening years to 2024.
The Fund wants Kenya to step up prevention of HIV spread, TB and malaria, strengthen health and community systems and make extra efforts to take care of any person considered “vulnerable”. It also wants Kenya to tackle gender inequalities and human rights barriers to health.
In an eight-page letter addressed to Kenya’s health Principal Secretary Susan Mochache, Global Fund’s grant management division head Mark Eldon-Edington said the money will be available to Kenya from June 2021 and to be used up to 2024.
Kenya’s immediate former Health minister Sicily Kariuki told journalists that this was 17 per cent higher than the previous allocation (Ksh38 billion ($380 million) and that the increase had come after an intense lobbying at the Fund’s fundraising meeting in France that took place in October last year.
This will be in addition to the funding that comes from the US President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (Pepfar).
In the letter, Mr Eldon-Edington announced that apart from the $416 million, Kenya qualifies for extra money to address teenagers and young women who have been shown to be particularly vulnerable to HIV infection, find cases of TB, but the patients had not sought care and to enforce human rights in the care for the three diseases.
According to UNAids, Kenya has the third-largest HIV epidemic in the world with 1.6 million people living with HIV in 2018. While the country has reduced deaths — from 64,000 in 2010 to 25,000 in 2018, according to Kenya’s National Aids Control Council — it has cost a lot.
According to the National Aids Control Council, 53,236 women living with HIV received ARV prophylaxis to prevent transmission to their newborns in 2017. This, NACC said, represents about 77 per cent of the need.