Kenya has signed seven grant agreements with the Global Fund to help expand interventions for HIV, tuberculosis and malaria.
The grant totaling to US$ 333 million will also be used in Kenya to scale up gains so far achieved and reach one million people, further scale up support to the three diseases programs and further invest in health systems.
“We have in this fiscal year 2015/2016 also set aside US$ 26 million to help bridge the financing gaps under the three diseases,” Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Finance Henry Rotich said while signing the grant.
Rotich said that the Global Fund supports about 50 percent of malaria medicines used in treating malaria cases in the country and supported procurement of tuberculosis medicines for all categories of tuberculosis patients.
Rotich revealed that the government is currently negotiating with the Global Fund of getting additional funding through the fund’s new initiative, Debt2Health.
“The new initiative allows Kenya’s debtors to covert debts they are owed by Kenya into health financing,” he added.
The Global Fund’s Head of Grant Management Division Mark Edington said that the Global Fund’s New Funding Model (NFM) directs resources on high impact interventions and geographical locations to achieving more resources.
“With Kenya’s continued support, we are confident that the new grants will complement growing domestic financing and significant international financing,” Edington said.
The Cabinet Secretary for Health James Macharia observed that with the funding, Kenya will reach one million people with antiretroviral treatment and also distribute long lasting insecticide treated nets to protect families from malaria.
“The grant will also help us scale up multidrug-resistant treatment for tuberculosis by 2017,” Macharia noted.
Macharia noted that the malaria, HIV and tuberculosis are a key challenge that requires additional support from partners and the national government.
He said that the grants will be used to access women, adolescents and young women to ensure that the disease prevalence reduces.
“We are planning to reach out to 3,000 tuberculosis patients who have developed drug resistant and also avail 6.8 million long lasting insecticide treated nets to protect families from malaria,” he added.
He said that the through the Global Fund’s support in the past, HIV prevalence rate has reduced to 5.6 percent from 13 percent while malaria has reduced to 10 percent from 30 percent in endemic areas.
The United States of America (USA) Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec observed that Kenya’s efforts towards reducing the prevalence of the diseases is due to the collective effort between the government, partners and civil society.
He said that the HIV, malaria and tuberculosis remains the leading cause of deaths in sub Saharan Africa.
The grants signed include a regional one that focuses on activities for harm reduction which will be implemented by and the Kenya Aids Ngos Consortium (KANCO) in eight East and Central African countries.
KANCO’s Executive Director Nelson Otwoma revealed that harm reduction is a range of public health policies designed to reduce the harmful effects of drug use.
“Injecting drug use is becoming a major factor for HIV transmission in the region and currently stand at 83 percent,” Otwoma said.
He said that the grant will ensure that more quality services are available and accessible to people who use drugs.
“We are strengthening community systems for a sustained HIV response among people who use drugs,’ he added.
The three year program will be implemented in Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya Tanzania, Mauritius, Seychelles, Uganda and Zanzibar.
The grants are to be implemented by four principal recipients namely the National Treasury, African Medical Foundation (AMREF), Kenya Red Cross (KRC) and the Kenya Aids Ngos Consortium (KANCO).