Kenyan Government Admits Failure To Distribute Funds To Fight HIV/AIDS Following U.S. Ambassador’s Criticism
The Kenyan Ministry of Health on Wednesday admitted a day after a speech by U.S. Ambassador to Kenya William Bellamy that it has failed to distribute $54 million in funding to fight HIV/AIDS, the AP/CNN International reports. Bellamy in a speech on Tuesday said that government inefficiency is threatening the disbursement of millions of dollars in funding to fight the disease, according to the AP/CNN International. Richard Abura, a Kenyan health ministry spokesperson, said that the "delay" in distributing the money was caused by conditions set by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, according to the AP/CNN International. Abura said the conditions included contracting an agency to ensure that the funds are "well spent" and hiring 78 accountants to manage the money, the AP/CNN International reports. Abura said that the government took nine months to meet the conditions and approved hiring the accountants on Wednesday (Ngowi, AP/CNN International, 2/2).
Bellamy in his speech to an audience that included Kenyan Vice President Moody Awori said that corruption is the reason why only a fraction of $70 million in U.S. funding for HIV/AIDS programs has been disbursed and that other donors -- including the World Bank and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria -- have not disbursed millions more in funding because they also are reluctant to contribute until the problem is resolved, according to AFP/News24.com. "The government of Kenya must change how it spends the money it already has, and it must insist on obtaining results from that spending," Bellamy said, adding, "Let's be clear, the money is available, and it has been available for quite some time now. What remains is for the government of Kenya to use that money quickly and effectively." Bellamy said to Awori, "I ... urge you again to use all your influence to get this government to start spending responsibly the funds it already has to fight AIDS." About 1.5 million people in Kenya have died of AIDS-related causes since 1984. Kenya's HIV/AIDS prevalence has fallen from 14% in 2000 to 7% in 2004, and about 1.4 million HIV-positive people live in the country, according to AFP/News24.com (AFP/News24.com, 2/2).