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NGOs demo over AIDS funding

10 May 2013, 16:15 Samuel Kisika

AIDS Healthcare Foundation AHF and Kenya NGOs Consortium Organization KANCO staged a demonstration themed “No Retreat on AIDS, Treatment for All” calling on both president Obama and Kenyatta to commit to stopping AIDS through funding.

Dr. Stephen Karau, the AHF Kenya Consultant and Senior Advisor, urged the US government to focus on restructuring programs to increase the funding instead of cuts.

“The battle against HIV has not yet been won though we have made considerable progress,” said Dr. Karau,“we cannot afford to back track on the progress_ now is the time for consolidating our gains, renewing our commitment, and forging stronger alliances in fight against AIDS  through the US support.”

On the other hand, Allan Ragi, the Executive Director of KANCO called on the Kenyan government to commit more funds to help its citizens fight HIV/AIDS.

“We want the Kenyan government to commit to the Abuja Declaration that was signed stipulating allocation of 15% of the national budget to health,” said Ragi.

The two NGO Principals raised a concern that the key partners in the fight against HIV/AIDS; the Global Funds to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) are losing funding due to government cuts.

They said that the two main foreign donors, PEPFAR and the Global Fund contribute more than 70% of funds to mitigate effects of HIV/AIDS and lack of government funding would cause KEPFAR fail to scale up its coverage in the next Country Operations Plan.

Reiterating on the Global Fund concern, the two principals said that governments to participate in the Global Fund processes through the civil society organizations, a commitment that the degree of importance around community issues won’t be lost in the fund allocations process, fairness in fund allocation in light of country bans and competition, and sound, flexible funding strategies that ensure services won’t be disrupted.

The principals further called upon African nations to increase and honor their Global Fund treaty of contributing to the kitty, not just to remain beneficiaries.

The Nairobi ‘Keep the Promise’ protest is the second in Africa after the Durban one in South Africa which occurred in February this year. The third rally is will take place in Swaziland on Sunday, May 12.

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