World Bank Pledges $50 Million To Fight HIV/AIDS in Kenya
Kenyan Health Minister Charity Ngilu on Monday announced that the World Bank has pledged $50 million to fight the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the country, the East African Standard reports. Speaking at a joint workshop between the ministry and the Kenya Episcopal Conference, Ngilu said that the National AIDS Control Council has set aside approximately $1 million in additional money for religious organizations; however, she said that the government "do[es] not have the capacity to spend the money." Ngilu "urged" Kenyans to "step up" the battle against the disease. Individuals living with HIV/AIDS occupy 50% of Kenyan hospital beds, Ngilu said. Ngilu called some NGOs working in Kenya "merchants of death," saying that some groups raised money for HIV/AIDS work but were "lining their coffers" rather than helping patients (Wachira/Kyuli, East African Standard, 3/25). Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki on Sunday announced that he will establish and chair a cabinet committee on HIV/AIDS as part of the government's "war" against the disease. Kibaki said that HIV/AIDS 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 (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/24). Approximately three people in Kenya die of AIDS-related complications every five minutes, and about 700 people die of the disease each day. More than 10% of the Kenyan population is HIV-positive (Xinhua News Agency, 3/24).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.