US dispels fears that it will cut HIV/Aids funding to Kenya

Washington DC: The Barack Obama Administration has allayed fears that it was slashing funding for fighting HIV Aids pandemic in Kenya through the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDs relief (PEPFAR).

The US Global AIDs coordinator Ambassador Deborah Birx dispelled the fears raised by civil societies, health officials and persons living with HIV Aids over reduced support for drugs like ARVs.

The reassurance came just days ahead of the crucial Africa leaders summit in Washintong DC in which President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to lead a high powered delegation of Kenyan officials to negotiate bilateral ties and investment opportunities.

"Let me reassure you that no one in the administration from President Obama to Secretary of State John Kerry has asked me to reduce funding for PEPFAR in Kenya. No one has asked me to decrease funding to Kenya."

Birx added: "In fact we have the Kenyan team coming back to US at the end of August to meet us for a week so that we go through in detail what Kenya needs and what it can do to reduce the pandemic."

She explained that the US government takes the pandemic levels keenly in Kenya and was looking carefully so that the best job is delivered in rolling back the pandemic and protecting gains made over the years.

She expressed dismay at high levels of infection in Nyanza which varies between 14-15 percent prevalence while in North Eastern it is 1.6 percent.

"There was no cut in Kenya but it looks like that. What happened was that Kenya had built funding over the years so that total funding for Kenya should be close or the same but are looking very carefully that we do within the funding envelope and what is absolutely best to drive down the pandemic."

Birx explained at a press briefing at the Foreign Press Centre in Washington DC.

"I am committed to this, Secretary Kerry is committed to this and President Obama is committed to driving back the pandemic levels down across the globe." she added

"The war is not yet won and we cannot sit back on our laurels. HIV is still a major challenge which will roll back gains made in health progress in the 1970s," Birx warned.