9 May 2017

Kenya: Suspended US Funding Won't Affect Healthcare Provision - Mailu

Photo: Tonny Omondi/Nation
US Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec addresses vernacular radio Journalists at Imperial Hotel in Kisumu on May 9, 2017.

Nairobi — Suspension of Sh2.1 billion in funding to the Ministry of Health will not impact life-saving services, Kenya and the US governments have sought to assure.

In a statement, the US Government clarified that it would continue to support health services and medication going directly to Kenyans given an annual health investment of Sh65 billion.

"Our support for life-saving and essential health services, such as providing anti-retroviral therapy for a million Kenyans is not affected by the suspension," the statement reads.

Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu - in a separate more detailed statement - gave the same assurance describing the suspension as only affecting, "programme administrative support."

"HIV/AIDS, Health Security (disease outbreaks and surveillance), family planning, nutrition supplements and training have not been affected by this suspension which we expect to be temporary. Consequently, we assure Kenyans that stock outs or non-availability of medical supplies will not be experienced."

The US Government has given as its motivation for its suspension of funding, "ongoing concern about reports of corruption and weak accounting procedures at the Ministry... The action is intended to ensure that healthcare spending reaches those in need, and to protect US taxpayer money."

In a statement to its programme officers, the US Government warned that, "participation in meetings such as technical working groups, coordination committees, steering committees, intergovernmental fora or other similar groups within the MoH are suspended under your contract or agreement.

"Any activities conducted with the MoH during this period of suspension will not be reimbursed by the United States government."

In his statement, Mailu took cognisance of the concerns raised and assured that the necessary remedial actions are being taken.

"We have also shared the measures that have been taken to strengthen financial management systems and address any internal control weaknesses with the support of the National Treasury."

Late last year, the Ministry of Health received bad press after it emerged in an internal audit that its officers breached the law as concerns public expenditure.

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