Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki To Establish, Chair Committee on HIV/AIDS
Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki yesterday said he will establish and chair a cabinet committee on HIV/AIDS as part of the government's "war" against the disease, AP/Yahoo! News reports (AP/Yahoo! News, 3/23). Kibaki said that the disease is "one of the biggest single challenges to development in our nation" and that the disease must be confronted before the country's economy would be able to prosper (Reuters, 3/23). According to Health Ministry statistics, three Kenyans die of AIDS-related causes every five minutes, and an estimated 700 people die each day of the disease. "It is disheartening to note that most of these are young and economically productive people upon whom society has invested, in the hope they will participate in building the nation," Kibaki said (Reuters/Washington Post, 3/24). He added, "We cannot afford to sit back as the pandemic ravages our nation. We must mobilize our people and make them play their rightful roles in strategies and interventions aimed at reducing HIV infections." Kibaki took office after defeating former President Daniel arap Moi in elections last year. Although arap Moi declared HIV/AIDS a "national disaster" in 1999, his government was often criticized for "doing little to combat the disease," according to AP/Yahoo! News (AP/Yahoo! News, 3/23). Kibaki urged the National AIDS Control Council to "re-energiz[e]" its work by involving all government ministries and by ensuring that education, drugs and counseling go to those who need them, Xinhua News Agency reports (Xinhua News Agency, 3/23).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.