Kenya focuses on strong health system, less crisis funding

Mon Sep 14, 2015 9:03pm EDT
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By Katy Migiro

NAIROBI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - When Grace's five-year-old daughter was admitted to hospital in Kenya with a chest infection, she didn't suspect HIV.

It was only four years later, when Grace became so ill she had to be carried to hospital, that she found they were both HIV positive.

The pair now receive free, world-class treatment at one of the capital's top private hospitals.

Most of the 3,000 patients at Mater Hospital's Comprehensive Care Clinic, dedicated to HIV/AIDS treatment, come from nearby shanty towns. It is entirely donor funded, mainly by the United States President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

"If I hadn't come here I would be dead," said Grace, a 32-year-old single mother from Nairobi's Fuata Nyayo slum, who declined to give her full name.

Earmarked funding from donors like PEPFAR and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has benefited millions of people like Grace.

In Kenya, HIV prevalence among adults has almost halved since the mid-1990s to 5.3 percent in 2014, according to UNAIDS.

Around 60 percent of Kenya's annual $1.25 billion health budget is spent on HIV/AIDS, the Thomson Reuters Foundation calculated, using government and UNAIDS figures. Of that, about three quarters comes from international sources, UNAIDS says.   Continued...

Pharmacists Michael Otieno and Ruth Munyao arrange anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs on a shelf in the pharmacy at the Mater Hospital in Kenya's capital Nairobi, September 10, 2015. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya