Youth lead in new HIV infections – minister
The government yesterday decried the increase in HIV/Aids cases in the country despite efforts to eradicate the disease.
Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha regretted that the cases increased by 7.5 per cent last year.
Speaking during celebrations to mark World AIDS Day at Kibaabi University in Bungoma County yesterday, the CS said the increase was mostly among young people.
“The high cases are being realised in ages between 15 to 24 years,” said Nakhumicha.
“These destructive infections in young girls and boys are not only to individuals but also the society,” she added.
Nakhumicha said men and boys were dying in higher rates than women because of poor use of Anti-Retrovirals.
The CS said the government is committed to investing in primary health care to fight the pandemic.
“The government is committed to realising right to health through universal cover systems,” she Nakhumicha.
She also said a half of 1.4 million people living with HIV/Aids were adults who were also battling other communicable diseases.
She regretted that HIV/Aids and TB programme had relied on donor funding which had declined but added that the government had scaled up commodity manufacturing to sustain the programme.
Meanwhile, the Director of Medical Services Dr Andrew Mulwa has said that Kenya is increasingly able to finance her health sector programmes, including HIV/Aids management.
But people living with HIV are calling for the fast tracking of the measures to sustain funding for the HIV/Aids programmes.
During a meeting which brought together people living With HIV in Nairobi, delegates warned that the country has no option but sustain funding of the programmes.
“We don’t have a choice,” James Kamau, the Chief Executive Officer, Kenya Treatment Access Movement (KETAM) said, emphasising that the country must make sure the gains made in the fight against the Aids scourge are not eroded.
But speaking at a pre-world AIDS Day event at Kenyatta National Hospital, Dr. Mulwa expressed confidence that Kenya is on the right track on domestic financing of health programmes.
While admitting that domestic resourcing for HIV programmes poses a challenge, he said the Ministry of Health was making progress in allocations.
“In the last two years we have seen domestic allocation by the MOH for HIV programming grow from Sh200 million to Sh1.2 billion to the current about Sh4 billion,” he said, and exuded confidence that the erratic stocking of the needed commodities, will stabilise in the next one year.
“I have had an opportunity to meet the President and listen to him, and he is crystal clear why we need to take charge of the financing for health in this country,” he said.