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Kenya anti-Aids drive gets $132m boost

The Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria has approved a grant of $132,3-million to boost Kenya’s anti-HIV/Aids drive, the Health Ministry announced on Tuesday.

The grant will finance programmes over the next five years, but an initial amount of $47,1-million will be released in the first two years, said Health Ministry permanent secretary Hezron Nyangito.

”The new grant to Kenya is targeted to provide ARV [antiretroviral] treatment with inclusion of a nutrition component, strengthening of health systems and strategic communication,” he said.

The grant brings the total funding for HIV/Aids, malaria and tuberculosis programmes in Kenya to $306-million since the fund was created in 2002.

Kenya’s official Aids prevalence rate is 5,1%, down from 5,9% in 2005 due to the use of free ARV therapy for adults and distributing new drugs to prevent mother-to-child transmission.

Since the savage virus roared from African jungles in the early 1980s, sub-Saharan Africa accounts for a staggering 72% of global Aids deaths, and two-thirds of all people infected with HIV.

After the disease was first diagnosed in Kenya in 1984, it has killed at least 1,5-million people and overturned decades of healthcare gains, and now threatens to burn through development efforts if it is not reversed.

By June last year, about one million Africans were receiving anti-retroviral drugs. This was still less than one-quarter of the estimated 4,6-million people in need of the drugs on the continent. — Sapa-AFP

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