18 June 2003
NAIROBI, KENYA – “Almost every day my 4-year old daughter asks me why she is always sick, like me. I tell her that we will be healthy again soon, and that God will always love us. I was already HIV positive when my oldest son was born. I heard of the Global Fund, and I hope it brings us what we need: care and acceptance, drugs and a new future,” says 29-year old Sally Wanjiku of Kibera.
The Government of Kenya and the Global Fund have signed an agreement for grants worth US$ 52 million to battle AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
The three grants provide additional emergency resources to radically scale up effective treatment and prevention programs, and medical and social services in Kenya. US$ 37 million has been granted to fight HIV/AIDS, US$ 5 million to tuberculosis, and US$ 10 million to malaria.
Over the next two years, the funds will bring antiretroviral therapy to more than 6,000 people living with HIV/AIDS, provide insecticide-treated bed nets to protect tens of thousands of pregnant mothers and young children from malaria, and boost efforts to detect and treat tuberculosis.
Funded programs will be overseen by a Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM), an unprecedented collaboration between Kenyan government, people living with the diseases, civil society, faith-based organizations and the private sector.
“Kenya’s program embodies the spirit of partnership that the Global Fund seeks to create, bringing together all sectors of society to ensure a comprehensive response to these diseases,” said Richard Feachem, Executive Director of the Global Fund.
Over half of the country’s 32 million people live on less then one dollar a day, and this East African nation faces one of the worst AIDS epidemics on the continent. In 2002, an estimated 700 people died of AIDS every day (over 200,000 people in one year) – five times the number who succumbed to the disease in the United States. Over 3 million people live with HIV, half of whom are young men and women below 30 years of age. Almost one million children in Kenya have been orphaned due to AIDS.
“Kenya’s long and difficult relationship with AIDS is today made worse by deteriorating health and social care structures,” said Charity K Ngilu, the new Minister of Health in Kenya and chair of the country’s CCM.
The Global Fund grant marks an all-inclusive approach to controlling the three epidemics, combining both prevention and treatment activities and utilizing a wide range of medical and social facilities. Immediate training of health care personnel and social workers, and procurement of essential equipment and drugs are some of the most important components to be funded in Kenya.
Dr Chebet, the Program Director for HIV/AIDS in the Ministry of Health said, “The Global Fund grant will help overcome many barriers to treatment for people living with HIV, improve counseling and testing for a greater segment of the population, and promote prevention. Ultimately, the grant will contribute to reversing the current socio-economic conditions in Kenya that facilitate the spread of AIDS by empowering local ownership of the fight against HIV/AIDS.”