Kenya signals partnership with UNAIDS, Global Fund

The leaders of the Joint U.N. Program on HIV/AIDS, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and Kenya's government recently met in Nairobi to discuss the fight against deadly diseases.

Mark Dybul, the executive director of the Global Fund, and Michel Sidibe, the executive director of UNAIDS, met with the leaders of Kenya's new government, the Global Fund said on Monday. The leaders, other civil society organizations and their partners signed two grant agreements worth $27 million to support new programs to fight diseases like HIV and TB.

"In Kenya, and in other countries, the most effective prevention often comes by reaching those most vulnerable to infection," Dybul said. "We can be most effective when all partners are moving in the same direction."

The grants will be jointly implemented by Kenya's Ministry of Finance and by the African Medical and Research Foundation. The grants will support programs to improve the treatment and diagnosis of TB, reduce diagnostic delays in vulnerable communities, provide nutritional support to TB patients and protect TB/HIV co-infected patients.

"Kenya can have a profound effect on the AIDS response if it continues to lead in a people-centered approach to health," Sidibe said. "If all people in Kenya can access essential health services with dignity and without fear - then surely this country can tip the balance of the epidemic in Africa."

Kenya is ranked 13th among the 22 highest burden TB countries in the world. The absolute number of notified TB cases grew 10-fold in Kenya since 1990.

The HIV epidemic is the most significant driver of the TB burden increase in Kenya.