National Aids Control Council (NACC) wants the Government to increase funding for HIV treatment now that some main donors have expressed intention to pull out.
The Central Kenya NACC regional monitoring and evaluation officer, James Kiiru, said that there will be an increase in Aids related deaths if the funding is not sustained.
The Clinton HIV/Aids Initiative, which has been a main donor in the fight against the disease, recently said that it will discontinue its support for paediatric antiretroviral drugs.
“The country faces a serious sustainability problem and we are asking the government to put up a trust fund,” said Kiiru.
NACC says that the government contributes 13 per cent towards the fight against HIV, while donors contribute 87 per cent. Future funding for HIV/Aids response is now becoming increasingly uncertain. Funding.
Speaking during a seminar in a Nyeri hotel, Kiiru said that other terminal diseases, like cancer, are funded by the ministry of health, but HIV has mainly been sponsored by donors.
“HIV treatment costs the patients KSh200,000 per month, which most Kenyans cannot afford as donors change priorities,” he said.
The council wants the Government to set aside one per cent of its annual budget towards the establishment of an Aids Trust Fund.
Kiiru said the trust fund will address the financial gaps that will be left when donors stop sponsoring the HIV programmes.
The council is lobbying MPs to pass the Kenya National Aids Commission Bill, 2012, to convert it and make it independent.
The Parliamentary Committee on Health has put the bill on its agenda, and the council legal officer, Charles Kariuki, said that passing the bill will strengthen the NACC.
He said the commission will have a wider mandate and will be able to hold organisations involved in the fight against HIV accountable.
“We depend on information presented to us by organisations involved in the fight against HIV, and sometimes the information is not enough,” said Kariuki. He said the commission will be able to get waivers on ARVs, adding that it will be easier to import the drugs. Kariuki said the council, which was established by a legal notice, can be disbanded by the president, but the commission will be independent.
“This means the commission will be independent and will have legal powers, unlike today when it just has responsibilities without power,” he added.
There are 1.2 million Kenyans living with HIV. Almost half of them are married couples, and 81 per cent of the infected do not know their status.
This article was originally published in the Reject Online issue 65 Download the PDF