Public health has received a major boost after the Ministry of Health unveiled a Sh900 million health facility, heightening quest for quality healthcare.
Cabinet Secretary James Macharia yesterday opened the ministry’s Afya House Annex for HIV and Tuberculosis programmes and the National Public Health Reference Laboratories building at Kenyatta National Hospital.
The ministry also announced establishment of Kenya’s new National Public Health Institute (NPHI), marking a new step in bringing together various public health activities to ensure the capacity to prevent, detect and respond to disease outbreak.
While appreciating the US Government for funding the project, Mr Macharia said, “I am happy to note that through the collaboration with the US Government and other development partners, Kenya has made substantial gains in the control of HIV, TB and other communicable diseases.”
He said the country has made a remarkable decline in HIV prevalence from 13 per cent in 2003 to the current 5.6 per cent. He expressed optimism of Kenya achieving its ultimate goal of having zero TB and HIV deaths, infections and nil stigma and discrimination.
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US ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec said for over 50 years, the US and Kenyan governments have collaborated on initiatives focused on ensuring health and safety of Kenyans.
“Because Kenya has demonstrated leadership in the public health in Africa, the US has made significant long-term investments to expand the capacity of Kenya’s national-level health and laboratory system.” The Ministry of Health Afya House Annex for HIV and tuberculosis programmes and the National Public Health Reference Laboratories building were funded by The US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
The Ministry of Health has worked with PEPFAR in implementing a sustainable integrated system for addressing the HIV epidemic. It has since signed for cooperative agreements with the US Government through Centre for Disease Control. At least a million Kenyans have successfully been treated from TB in the last 10 years.