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

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs