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Global donor raises red flag on Kenya's ability to absorb funds

Health & Science

NAIROBI: The Global Fund is concerned about the country's slow pace in absorbing HIV, malaria and tuberculosis grants and wants specific targets met by the end of this year.

In its first audit with the Jubilee government, the fund gave Kenya a qualified approval and called for improvement in governance, management and oversight.

"Auditors from the Office of the Inspector General rated the management of financial, health services and product risks as 'generally effective' in Kenya," says the report.

The last audit was published in 2012 with the fund demanding the country refund some Sh270 million which it said had not been properly accounted for.

However, since then the fund no longer makes public specific incidents of fraud preferring to discuss this with recipients behind closed doors.

It came out that internal controls, governance and risk management processes were not effective. "No plan to address the issues was in place at the time of audit," shows the report.

The fund is especially concerned over disruptions brought about by the devolution of the health sector which led to the stock-out of TB drugs last year in the counties.

The audit indicates $3 million (Sh302.8 million) had been released to the counties in 2013-14 for the purchase of TB medicines but this was not done. The fund also wants a national TB prevalence survey which it says has been delayed since 2011.

Also of concern was the low utilisation of mosquito nets for the protection against malaria. Bed nets constitute the biggest component for malaria funding, 37 per cent, and the fund recommends the speedy collection of data to inform on their utilisation.

The audit identifies a $96 million (Sh9.7 billion) funding gap for anti-retrovirals by next year which it says had not been addressed by the time of the exercise.

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