County governments have been urged to establish HIV/Aids kitties so as to boost funding and enhance Kenya’s commitment to stop new infections by 2030.
According to the National Syndetic Diseases Control Council (NSDCC), there is a need for allocation of more local resources for management of HIV as external funding is on the decline.
NSDCC programme officer in charge of investment Steve Mutuku has urged County governments to domesticate a prototype HIV Management and Financing Bill that will encourage focused resource allocation and also help devolved units tap grants and donations from individuals and organisations to accelerate the eradication of the HIV/Aids.
Dr. Mutuku noted that the country spends more than Sh25 billion annually on HIV commodities yet there is a resource gap of more than Sh10 billion every year.
He noted that in the 2020/2021 financial year, Kenya contributed Sh12.4 billion towards HIV and STIs management and received Sh35.3 billion from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (Pepfar) and Sh11.2 billion from the Global Fund.
The programme officer noted that Kenya is now a middle-income country, hence the need to prepare for donor transitioning that may lead to challenges in access to HIV commodities.
He noted that Counties have a major role to play by establishing the HIV/AIDS Kitty so as to seal the gap.
Dr Mutuku said more resources are needed for the country to ensure effective testing, treatment and suppression of viral load.
He noted that some counties have been allocating funds for management of HIV in their annual budget but the money is never spent due to lack of legal instruments.
He said counties should move with speed in enacting the HIV Fund Act, which will allow them allocate monies and spend on STI and HIV management.
“Countrywide, we have Kakamega County which has successfully adopted the HIV Fund Bill and it has been able to attract a grant of Sh200 million from USAID (the United States Agency for International Development),” he said.
He advised counties to come up with public health regulations that will see the hospitality industry involved in prevention of new HIV infections.
“It has been established that one sexual act with a condom prevents four new HIV infections. Counties should ensure access to condoms in public spaces and entertainment joints such as lodges, bars, night clubs and hotels,” he said.
According to the UNAIDS Global AIDS Update 2022, there were 1.4 million people living with HIV in Kenya by 2021 when the country recorded 34, 450 new HIV infections up from 32, 057 in 2020.
Health experts have expressed concern that more than 50 per cent of the new infections are occurring among people aged between 15 and 29.
By Muguongo Judy