26 February 2013

Kenya: Opinion Divided Over HIV/Aids Funding By Donors

OPINION is divided among civil societies in Western provinces on whether donor funding for HIV/Aids programmes should continue or not.

During a debate organised by the National Aids Control Council in Kakamega, representatives of civil societies expressed concern at the low financing of HIV/Aids programmes by the government and called for increased funding.

They argued that being a national disaster; the government should increase its allocation for HIV/Aids programmes from the current 18 percent of the total expenditure on programmes against the scourge, despite the disease having been declared a national disaster.

Others however said that what is need is to address inefficiencies in management of available resources. They noted that HIV/Aids is no longer a national disaster but cash cow but a conduit for those involved in implementation of programmes targeting the scourge to line their pockets.

"We need to deal with issues of over employment, poor procurement procedures and corruption in the use of available resources and not crying for more funding," said Dr. Charles Ngome of Masinde Muliro university who one of the panelists.

According to Nacc report for assessment of spending on HIV/Aids for financial years 2006/07 and 2007/08, HIV/Aids received Sh 21.81 billion and Sh 23.86 billion in the two financial years respectively.

The report shows that the government contributed only Sh 4.07 billion in the year 2006/07 and Sh 4.5 billion in the year 2007/08, translating to about 18 percent of the total spending on programmes targeting the scourge.

The rest of funding comes from bilateral and private partners. Participants argued that a large percentage of the money allocated to groups engaged in the fight against the disease went into people pockets.

Consolata Ngatia said that reduced funding for HIV/Aids programme will hold a large portion of Kenyan population in the vicious cycle of poverty.

She said that affects the scourge have adverse effect on the country's food security because agricultural production was reducing by ten percent annually due to the effects of the disease on the manpower.

Pamela Agunda, a representative of PSI said that more funding are needed to fight the stigma noting that only 36 percent of the 40 million Kenyans have gone for testing. She said that over 70 per cent of Kenyans who go for testing do not return to pick results for fear of stigma.

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