Kenya May Lose HIV/Aids Funding if U.S. Makes no Resolution on Kenyan MPs' Request

An HIV awareness ribbon in a person's hand.
1 September 2023

Harare — Kenya might stop receiving funds for HIV if a decision in the U.S. Congress is not made by the end of the month, according to Business Insider Africa.

In June of this year, a group of Kenyan Members of Parliament and religious leaders addressed a petition to the U.S. Congress alleging that funding from the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR) was being used to support abortion in the country.

The letter, titled "Pepfar and African Values," was sent to a number of members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate and explained how the HIV funds given to Kenya were reportedly undermining some of Kenya's core principles by funding family planning and reproductive health principles, including abortion.

The legislators issued a strong warning against reauthorising HIV funding to Kenya until Pepfar adheres to its basic mandate and respects local customs, traditions, and values.

"As you now seek to reauthorize Pepfar funding, we want to express our concerns and suspicions about this funding. We ask that those partner organizations with whom the US government partners implement Pepfar programs in ways that are cognizant and respectful of our beliefs and not cross over into promoting divisive ideas and practices that are not consistent with those of Africa," the letter read.

"Again, we thank the American people for their extraordinary generosity and solidarity with us and ask that our voices be heard and acknowledged, and our beliefs safeguarded in future Pepfar programming," the letter further read.

Members of the U.S. Republican Party have urged that the Pepfar funding for 2023-24, which is due in at the end of September, be postponed until further notice or until the issue can be handled.

Numerous civic societies have requested that the letter be rescinded because the decision heavily impact the delivery of HIV/aids care in the country.

In a letter to Moses Wetang'ula, Speaker of the National Assembly, more than 50 civil society organisations expressed their opposition to the MPs' decision, which they say will endanger the lives of more than 1.6 million Kenyans living with HIV and the more than 55 million Kenyans who benefit from HIV programmes supported by Pepfar.

The funding, according to the organisations, caters for more than half of Kenya's funding for HIV/Aids care. As of September 30, when the current funding term expires, Kenya was anticipating Ksh50 billion (343.9 million) in financing for HIV/Aids.

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