9 May 2017

Kenya: Raila - Reasons Why US Stopped Health Funding

Photo: Charles Lwanga/The Nation
Kilifi County Hospital Laboratory officer Raphael Nella, right, explains how the facility operates to Governor Amason Kingi, centre, and visiting officials from the US congress on October 27, 2016. The officials were inspecting projects funded by World Vision through USAid.

National Super Alliance (Nasa) Presidential candidate Raila Odinga has blamed the Jubilee administration for the decision by the US government to withdraw funding to the health sector.

In a statement from Jerusalem, Israel where is attending an international conference, Mr Odinga blamed President Uhuru Kenyatta's reluctance to act on corruption in the health ministry for the US government's decision, citing the Sh5.3 billion scandal at the health ministry last year.

"We expressed concern that the mess at the Ministry of Health could antagonise donor agencies that have been at the forefront of financing key health programmes like HIV/AIDs, Malaria, TB and maternal and child care unless it was addressed comprehensively and expeditiously with the criminals punished," said Mr Odinga.

"Today, what we feared has come to pass. The US government has taken the unfortunate step of suspending its support for Kenya's health sector because of corruption in the parent ministry. This effectively puts to an end years of work that USAID through the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has done to combat the HIV/AIDS," he added.

Mr Odinga censured the government's failure to prosecute the owners of the companies which benefitted from the Sh5.3 billion scandal at the Ministry, whom he claimed were well known to the President.


He further accused President Kenyatta of shielding top government officials who were implicated in the scandal, singling out former Health Principal Secretary Nicholas Muraguri who has since been transferred to the Lands ministry.

"Only recently, the man who supervised this grand theft, Dr Nicholas Muraguri, was transferred to a more lucrative ministry instead of being sacked and prosecuted," Mr Odinga stated.

He challenged President Kenyatta to come clean on the scandal by arresting its architects, arraign them in court and recover the money lost to enable the country make peace with donors and continue getting the support that "we desperately need."

Mr Odinga said anything short of this would put at risk US government's investment in medical support for Kenyans with HIV/Aids to access treatment and care they need while also gaining the knowledge to eliminate the spread of the disease from mother-to-child and partner-to-partner.

Also at risk, he said, was the US investment in reducing the burden of Malaria, one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in Kenya.

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