The United States (US) government has reduced the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief Funds (PEPFAR) from a 5-year-plan to a 1-year-plan.
Downscaling from the normal 5 year deal, Republican lawmakers demanded that the program should ban any nongovernmental organisations that receive PEPFAR funding from promoting or providing abortion services.
The new plan, which will affect about 1.4 million Kenyans depending on the funding, is already in motion in the US as the law prevents the use of funding for abortion services.
“PEPFAR has never been an abortion program, and will never be because the 1973 Helms amendment which restricts U.S. foreign assistance programs from funding abortion abroad, “John Nkengasong, the program’s director stated.
A photo of Congress in motion
Republicans had delayed over Ksh 160 billion which led to a shortage in several countries relying on the aid.
The delays constrained PEPFAR officials from undertaking any activities due to the unavailability of funds, resorting to periodic funding offered on a rolling one-year basis.
Kenya is a huge benefactor of the funding in the fight against HIV/AIDS and it has pushed the country towards reaching the United Nations 2025 goal.
“United Nations targets at eliminating new HIV infections among children and ensure that every child living with HIV/AIDS has timely access to life-saving treatment services, “read a statement shared by the global body.
Kenyans living below the poverty line are not able to afford Antiretroviral drugs. ARVs currently retail at Ksh 5,000, which is on the higher side for most Kenyans.
The Ministry of Health, in observance of World AIDS Day, celebrated on December 1 every year, emphasised the pivotal role communities play in the fight against HIV/AIDS, echoing this year’s theme, Let Communities Lead.
“Communities are the pulse of change in addressing the complexities of HIV/AIDS. Their collective knowledge, resilience, and advocacy drive crucial advancements in prevention, treatment, and support systems. Empowering communities isn’t merely a mantra but a fundamental approach in shaping sustainable, inclusive responses,” MoH stated.
Kenya Defence Forces during World AIDS Day on December 1, 2021
Ministry of Defense Kenya