Kenya on Track to Ending HIV among Children: UN
Kenya could soon achieve a breakthrough in its long battle against HIV/Aids, the United Nations says in a new report.
The country is on track to meet the 2015 goal of eliminating new HIV infections among children and keeping their mothers alive, the UN Aids agency announced.
The encouraging finding is included in a study issued in the run-up to the start in Washington on Sunday of the 19th annual International Aids Conference.
A total of 13,200 Kenyan babies acquired HIV from their mothers last year, according to the UNAids report.
That was 10,000 fewer than in 2009 — a 43 percent rate of decline that puts Kenya on track toward zero new infections three years hence.
Similarly, a substantially smaller number of Kenya women — 2,200 in 2010, compared to 3,400 in 2005 — are dying from Aids-related causes during pregnancy or within 42 days of giving birth, the report indicates.
The UN attributes these gains to Kenya's success in making HIV treatment available on a wider scale.
The report cites Kenya as one of three countries in Africa that achieved “the most dramatic progress” in expanding HIV treatment, with 100,000 additional Kenyans reached last year.
Finance Minister Robinson Njeru Githae is featured in the UN report as suggesting that steady domestic investment will help end Aids for all Kenyans.
He notes that USD709 million was spent last year to combat HIV in Kenya. Donors accounted for 81 percent of that sum, Mr Githae notes.
He adds that dependence on outside assistance “makes us vulnerable,” with a shortfall in needed funding likely to develop in the coming years.
“Life expectancy in Kenya is rising, and poverty has declined,” the minister says in the report. “These achievements result from inclusive economic growth and poverty reduction polices, including strong leadership in tackling Aids.”
“Long-term sustainability and national ownership requires that we continue improving the efficiency of current HIV programmes,” Mr Githae adds.
Source: Daily Nation