Global partners’ plan to reduce HIV/AIDS programme funding by up to 70 per cent has elicited concern in developing countries.
As a result, Kenya through its devolved system of governance which created 47 counties, has to move swiftly through the respective budgetary processes to allocate adequate funds for health programmes aimed at cushioning the sector from the anticipated impact.
The Kisumu County Executive Committee (CEC) for Health and Sanitation, Prof. Judith Attyang said next year (2020) could come with a “storm” for the sector considering that the partners focus is elsewhere away from HIV/AIDS funding.
Prof. Attyang said that for decades, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was the sole source of funding towards the fight against HIV/AIDS in Kenya working in collaboration with other partners.
For example, majority of staff in our health facilities are being supported under the Foundation working with other partners. “One such partner is USAID which has announced that it was scaling down the number of staff under the programme and funding by 70 per cent,” she said.
According to the Aids Vaccine Advocacy Coalition (AVAC), the Foundation has this year committed US$750million with US$2million in New Grants for HIV/AIDS prevention-focused initiatives in Kenya. The Conrad programme was also allocated US$25 million while Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric Aids Foundation US$15million.
The Foundation earlier announced in Davos, Switzerland that it has renewed its commitment to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
“These are tough economic times, but that is no excuse for cutting aid to the world’s poorest,” said Bill Gates, co-chair of the Gates Foundation. “The Global Fund is one of the most effective ways we invest our money every year,” he told the forum.
Since 2002, investments in the Global Fund financed innovative prevention and treatment programmes in 150 countries with high burdens of disease. The Fund continues to save 100, 000 lives a month.
It has provided antiretroviral treatment to 3.3 million people, detected and treated 8.2 million others with Tuberculosis, and provided 230 million bed nets to families to prevent malaria.
The new commitment is in addition to US$650 million the Gates Foundation has already contributed since the Global Fund was launched 10 years ago at the World Economic Forum, which attracts top business and political leaders.
The Foundation commended recent political and financial commitments to the Global Fund by donor governments, while appealing to all donors; the rich, middle-income and poor countries, as well as the private sector, must continue to invest in the lifesaving work of the Global Fund.
By Joseph Ouma