President Uhuru Kenyatta has noted with satisfaction the progress being made by the country in the fight against the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
The President, who reiterated Kenya’s commitment to the achievement of an “AIDS Free Generation”, called on African countries to allocate more local resources to the fight so as to bridge the financing gap occassioned by the dwindling external support.
“I want to reaffirm my personal commitment to this particular agenda,” President Kenyatta said today at State House, Nairobi when he hosted Champions of an AIDS Free Generation in Africa.
The Champions for an AIDS Free Generation, who were led by the former President of Botswana Festus Mogae, are a distinguished group of former presidents and influential African leaders committed to an AIDS-free generation.
The leaders, individually and collectively, rally and support regional leaders towards ending the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat.
The leaders who included former President of Malawi Joyce Banda and Professor Miriam Were congratulated the President for the various health sector reforms including the ongoing rollout of Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
They urged President Kenyatta to continue rallying other Heads of State to show more political goodwill in the fight against HIV/AIDS on the continent.
The champions particularly requested the President to spearhead efforts to make African nations to allocate more resources to the fight against HIV/AIDS, expand access to ARVs and other primary healthcare services.
“External assistance is declining and even where it is available it is in decline and its covering fewer and fewer of the population on our continent. That means we have to try and do something about it including allocating more local resources,” Mr Mogae said.
Former President Banda congratulated First Lady Margaret Kenyatta for championing maternal and child health through the Beyond Zero Initiative.
The former Malawian Head of State said the First Lady’s sustained health campaign has contributed significantly to Kenya’s efforts to lower HIV/AIDS prevalence especially among mothers, children and the youth.
President Kenyatta said Kenya’s UHC plan is aimed at consolidating resources from local and international sources to ensure expanded access to primary health care including HIV/AIDS services.
He said expanded to access primary healthcare especially preventive services will help slow down the spread of the viral disease.
The President mentioned the campaign to end Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) by 2022, the various affirmative actions to empower women and girls as well as the growing budgetary allocations to health and education sectors as some of the many government interventions aimed at achieving the goal of an AIDS free population.
The champions were accompanied to State House by Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki, Health PS Susan Mochache, UN Resident Coordinator in Kenya Siddharth Chatterjee and Amref Health Africa CEO Dr Githinji Gitahi.