The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Project Cut Shouldn't Hurt HIV Patients

The US government funding for HIV projects PEPFAR stands for the Presidents Emergency Plan for Aids Relief. The way the health ministry in Kenya is carrying on suggests that it thinks Pepfar was the President's Enduring Plan or the President's Endless Plan for Aids Relief. The fact is that the funding is coming to and end and urgent measures are needed to ensure the beneficiaries of the project are not abandoned with no alternatives.

The US funding has placed millions of HIV positive Kenyans on a programme to receive free life-enhancing anti-retroviral drugs. Between 2004 and 2010, 410,300 individuals were receiving antiretroviral treatment, 1,384,400 others were getting care and support including for tuberculosis and HIV, 673,000 orphans and vulnerable children (OVCs) receiving support, 1,177,400 pregnant women with known HIV status receiving services, 70,400 HIV-positive pregnant women receiving antiretroviral prophylaxis for Prevention of Mother To Child Transmission and 5,478,100 individuals receiving counseling and testing. In addition is it estimated that 13,376 estimated infant HIV infections averted.

In short, the most efficient and effective global health program in US history and which Africans (including Kenyans) were the largest beneficiaries, is coming to an end. The ministries of Public Health and Medical Service need to put their differences aside and tell Kenyans how they intend to ensure HIV positive people continue to benefit from these services even without American funding.

Quote of the day: "Cowardice is almost always simply a lack of ability to suspend functioning of the imagination." - US writer Ernest Hemingway died on July 2, 1961.

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