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

Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Seen as a potential driver of recovery, Cairo’s plan to expand waterway had been raising hopes to give country much needed economic boost More

Ebola Maternity Ward in Sierra Leone First of its Kind

Country already had one of world's highest maternal mortality rates before Ebola arrived, virus has added even more complications to health care More

Malaysia Flight 370 Disappearance Ruled Accident

Aircraft disappeared on March 8, 2014; with ruling, families of 239 passengers and crew can now seek compensation from airline 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.
Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Productioni
X
George Putic
January 29, 2015 9:43 PM
The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Production

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Crowded Republican Presidential Field Off to Early Start for 2016

It seems early, but the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign is already heating up. Though no one has officially announced a candidacy, several potential Republican contenders have been busy speaking to conservative groups about making a White House run next year. Many of the possible contenders are critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy record. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid