Kenya To Receive Delayed Global Fund Grant After Issues Regarding Nongovernmental Groups Resolved
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria this week is expected to give Kenya millions of dollars in withheld grant funding to fight HIV/AIDS after concerns over Kenya's anti-AIDS strategy were resolved, the East African Standard/AllAfrica.com reports (East African Standard/AllAfrica.com, 8/17). In June, Kenyan officials and a Global Fund representative signed a two-year, $52 million grant to fight AIDS, TB and malaria (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 6/17). However, the Fund had released only the money aimed at TB and malaria -- approximately $15 million -- and withheld AIDS funding until the Kenyan government addressed claims of "corruption" within Kenya's National AIDS Control Council, Nation/AllAfrica.com reports (Nation/AllAfrica.com, 8/17). According to the East African Standard/AllAfrica.com, Global Fund donors had expressed concern that Kenya was "silent on how the money will be distributed to the grassroots." Health Minister Charity Ngilu said that the funds will now be "channeled" through the Constituency AIDS Committees and that the administrative structures at NACC are "set for overhaul." According to Ngilu, the Provincial and District AIDS teams will not be involved in the disbursement of the funds and the Global Fund money will be directed to providing free antiretrovirals at public hospitals, East African Standard/AllAfrica.com reports. "The donors are concerned about the way AIDS money has been used in the past, with most of the money being spent on administration and salaries," Ngilu said (Bwire, East African Standard/AllAfrica.com, 8/17).
In July, the NACC cut off funding to four fraudulent nongovernmental AIDS organizations and is investigating another 10 organizations. In addition, the government recently suspended the operations of several hundred NGOs that did not have proper documentation for their funding; several dozen of those groups reportedly focused on AIDS-related activities. Jerry van Mourick, the regional representative of the Global Fund, had said, "We don't just write blank checks," adding, "A very important principle of the Global Fund is we need some assurance that the grant monies are properly spent" (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 7/10). Kenya plans to spend the "bulk" of the newly released funds on the purchase of antiretroviral medications for approximately 5,000 of the country's 200,000 people with AIDS. The Global Fund so far has earmarked approximately $173 million to fight AIDS, TB and malaria in Kenya (Nation/AllAfrica.com, 8/17).