We should not continue relying on donors to foot our health bill
SEE ALSO :UN warns on rising HIV cases in teensIronically, although the project has failed in Kenya, it has succeeded in 12 other African countries that received similar funding. These include Tanzania, which, unlike Kenya that has been pleading for extension of the US funding, now does not need help to run its blood management services. That Kenya is among Africa’s economic giants is not in doubt. But an economic giant that cannot put up efficient blood banks even with foreign help needs to have serious introspection. And here is our Achilles heel. Unlike in the other countries, our Government has failed to live up to its promises in so far as this project is concerned. While it was supposed to gradually increase funding in this critical area and eventually displace the donor, it has been doing the opposite--cutting down its funding. For example, while from 2014-2016 Government funding of blood services rose by about 800 per cent in Rwanda, it fell by 63 per cent in Kenya. This means we have been relying fully on donors to run our blood banks. Sadly, this is not confined to blood services. Government funding of HIV and Aids programmes has not been rising as expected. While the programmes gobble up Sh120 billion annually, Kenya's contribution is only about 33 per cent.
SEE ALSO :Kenyan NGO wins global TB awardAs the US moves its funding from health--it has already slashed HIV funding in Kenya--to agriculture, we will soon have to foot the bulk of our health budget. This means the Government needs to pull up its socks. The donors have done their part, we now need to pick up the gauntlet. If we don't, the gains that have been made so far, including lowering HIV infections, will soon be eroded.
Do not miss out on the latest news. Join the Standard Digital Telegram channel HERE.