Plan to cut reliance on donor cash in Aids war

Special Programmes minister Esther Murugi on May 18, 2011 said budgetary allocations have often fallen below targets, hampering the war on HIV/Aids. Photo/FILE

Plans are under way to set up a local fund for HIV/Aids treatment in a bid to stem dependence on donor aid.

Special Programmes Minister Esther Murugi said on Wednesday that the government was seeking partnerships with the private sector to finance HIV care and research by establishing a trust fund.

Speaking at the opening of a four-day HIV and Aids research conference at the Kenya School of Monetary Studies in Nairobi, Ms Murugi said that budgetary allocations have often fallen below targets, hampering the war on HIV/Aids.

“The World Health Organisation in 1986 launched the global programme on HIV and Aids. Since then, Kenya has continued to depend on donor aid for prevention, treatment, care and support programmes on HIV,” she said.

Treasury had not committed enough funds to the fight against Aids and allocated only Sh900 million in the last financial year, she said.

The government has admitted that with over 700,000 Kenyans requiring anti-retroviral drugs, it is no longer feasible to rely on donor funds.

The first day of the conference was, however, marred by demonstrators demanding increases in the health budget by 10 per cent a year.

They also demanded that funds for HIV/Aids drugs be increased by at least 10 per cent a year.

The protesters said this would be a step towards meeting the Abuja Declaration target of dedicating 15 per cent of national budgets to healthcare.

They also accused the US of reneging on a pledge to spend $50 billion to fight global Aids by 2013.

“In 2011, US funding for Aids was actually cut,” said Mr Nelson Otwoma, an activist who organised the protest.