News / Africa

Health Funding Cuts Cause Worries in Nairobi

A patient with tuberculosis sits on a bed in 'Tuberculosis Village,' a separate health facility at a clinic run by the medical charity Doctors Without Borders, in the town of Nasir in southeastern Sudan. Along with malaria, tuberculosis is one of the lead
A patient with tuberculosis sits on a bed in 'Tuberculosis Village,' a separate health facility at a clinic run by the medical charity Doctors Without Borders, in the town of Nasir in southeastern Sudan. Along with malaria, tuberculosis is one of the lead

Several-hundred people gathered in the Kenyan capital Monday to protest funding cuts made by the decade-old The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.  The cancellation of the so-called “Round 11,” which would have covered new grants for the prevention and treatment of the three diseases from 2011 to 2013, is being met with criticism and fear in Kenya, Uganda, and all over the world. 

Youth counselor Geoffrey Ochieng is very worried about the future.

Prior to starting his anti-retroviral treatment, or ARVs, Ochieng suffered from meningitis and tuberculosis.  But during the five years that he has been taking ARVs, he has had a clean bill of health.

"We always counsel our fellow youths that when you take medication, you are able to live a more awesome life.  But if the medication is not there, then now you think otherwise; what will happen if there is not medication?  So you get worried, he said. "What am I going to do if the medics is stopped?"

Health promoter Siama Musini wonders how her low-income clients in the informal settlement of Kibera will survive in the face of no Round 11. "They have people who we have already enrolled in the program, those who are in need of ARVs.  They might miss the treatment, which will return us back to the 1990s where we used to have around 700 people dying daily in hospitals," Musini stated.

Musini and Ochieng participated. They were among hundreds of demonstrators in Nairobi’s Uhuru Park Monday calling for the resumption of Round 11.

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, supported by donor governments, is among the world’s largest financiers of programs to prevent and treat the three diseases, saving an estimated 100,000 lives each month around the globe.

But some donor governments have not fulfilled their pledges, forcing The Global Fund’s board to cancel their next round of funding.  This means that countries will receive no new money for the prevention or treatment of AIDS, TB, and malaria until 2014.  

The Fund has set up what it calls a “transitional funding mechanism,” which covers the continuation of essential services.  

Dr. Peter Mugenyi, an expert on AIDS treatment, says thanks to The Global Fund, AIDS has, in his words, “stopped being a death sentence, but became a chronic infection.”  He says he fears a dramatic reversal in gains made in his country Uganda and elsewhere.

"When treatment came to Uganda and other parts of Africa, we saw many people coming up to get tested for HIV.  Many people shunned stigma, which was stopping people going for testing.  The reason why they shunned stigma and why they came up in such big numbers to be tested was because, if they were found positive, they had hope," Mugenyi said.

He notes that Uganda had submitted a proposal to The Global Fund to implement "prevention of mother to-child transmission programs" that would put pregnant HIV-positive women on ARV treatment so that their babies can be born HIV free.

In Kenya, more than 400,000 people are taking ARVs, but some 500,000 still need the drugs, according to the Kenya AIDS NGOs Consortium.

According to the medical aid agency Doctors Without Borders, nearly half of people in developing countries who need HIV treatment now have access, and treatment coverage increased by 30 percent in 2010 alone in sub-Saharan Africa.  It says that a person put on treatment earlier is 96 percent less likely to transmit HIV.

The Global Fund dispersed $8-billion between 2008 and 2010.  It got a substantial boost last week when the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation said it would contribute $750 million to the Fund above its current commitments.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid