Health groups in Kenya want UNAids reforms over global sex scandal

The groups warn that the credibility of the global Aids agency has received a big hit hence the need for quick management reforms.

Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo embraces UNAids Executive Director Michel Sidibe after speaking at a press conference in the French capital July 20, 2017. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

IN SUMMARY

  • The groups warn that the credibility of the global Aids agency has received a big hit hence the need for quick management reforms.
  • AHF’s Regional Policy & Advocacy Manager for East and West Africa Ms Alice Kanyongo said UNAids must remember that it is accountable to the global community and take action immediately.
  • The health groups have demanded an enabling environment and have proposed systems to ensure better and quicker handling cases of sexual harassment.

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Civil society groups in the health sector in Kenya have called for urgent major reforms in the Joint UN Programme on HIV/Aids following the mishandling of allegations on sexual harassment.

Led by Aid Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the organisations warn that the credibility of the global Aids agency has received a big hit, hence the need for quick management reforms.

The call was made at a joint press statement and echoes the concerns and demands made by organisations like the Aids Healthcare Foundation (AHF), Treatment Action Campaign, Section 27 and Sonke on the same issue.

AHF’s Regional Policy & Advocacy Manager for East and West Africa Ms Alice Kanyongo said UNAids must remember that it is accountable to the global community and take action immediately.

“UNAids must remember that it is accountable to the entire global community, including Civil Society Organisations, and we want to see that accountability in all facets of its operations and procedures.

"A first step would be to make public the report of its investigations on this issue and provide updates on the mechanisms that have been put in place to avoid reoccurrence” she said.

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Independent audit
Ms Kanyongo said UNAids needs to commission an independent audit into its reported numbers of people living with HIV on treatment across the globe

Ms Kanyongo said the Aids Healthcare Foundation and other advocates had made a similar demand over the years, to no avail.

“What remains unclear, is that a site-by-site audit inside a country would produce the same numbers as what is being reported by UNAids, especially when some countries do not provide or have the numbers; and we know that when interventions are based on assumptions, it makes accurate deployment of resources impossible", she said.

The UNAids mission is to lead, advocate and inspire the world in achieving universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support.

However, recent media reports and investigations by the Code Blue Campaign and The Lancethave revealed deep flaws in the management culture at UNAids that ignores the very abuses the joint programme is trying to prevent.

The health groups have demanded an enabling environment and have proposed systems to ensure better and quicker handling cases of sexual harassment.

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