Obama gives Kenya Aids fight Sh31.4bn boost

Outgoing US President Barack Obama has given Kenya’s fight against HIV/Aids a huge boost with the injection of $306 million (Sh31.4 billion) into treatment and prevention programmes, which will be rolled out in 23 counties across the country over a five-year period.

Obama’s administration plans to award contracts for services in counties over the period, according to procurement documents by the US Agency for International Development (USAid).

The primary aim of the HIV Service Delivery Support Activity, as the programme is titled, is to improve HIV detection and treatment while strengthening “institutional accountability” for community, facility and county HIV responses.

“Contractors are expected to collaborate with and support county leadership and other implementing agencies and partners across the system regardless of agency or funding source to ensure HIV services are integrated and complementary,” USAid said in the request for proposals issued on December 27.

Mr Obama has during his presidency scaled up the President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR); a US aid programme that offers support of anti-retroviral treatment, testing, counseling, and other prevention measures around the world.

The contractors for the USAid programme are expected to serve on behalf of the Obama administration as a “lead agency” at the Kenyan county level, contributing to the capacity of each county to “operationalise and oversee clinical HIV services.”

The programme aims to increase availability and use of combination prevention services, increase uptake of targeted HIV testing services and improve linkage to treatment for individuals newly testing positive for HIV.

The programme is also expected to lead to increased uptake of and adherence to quality HIV treatment services, ensure long-term follow up of patients receiving care and treatment services including laboratory and logistics support, and boost community facilities and county HIV response.