US cites alleged graft at Afya House in decision to suspend aid

US Ambassador to Kenya Robert F. Godec. PHOTO | FILE
US Ambassador to Kenya Robert F. Godec. PHOTO | FILE 

The US government says it has suspended financial aid to Kenya's Ministry of Health due to reports of corruption and lack of accountability.

American Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec however clarified Tuesday morning that direct support to patients including provision of antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) to HIV patients will continue.

“What we have done on health assistance is to temporarily suspend technical support that goes directly to the Ministry of Heath because of the ongoing concerns about accounting processes and procedures that revolve around corruption,” said the envoy.

"We will resume once the government puts in place accountability measures," he added during a training in Kisumu of vernacular radio station journalists on election reporting.

Not political

He emphasised that the suspended assistance to MoH is a small percentage compared to America's overall assistance to Kenya's health sector.

He also clarified that the suspension of aid has nothing to do with this year's elections or ill relationship with the government.

Earlier in a letter signed by Brian Woody, the USAid/Kenya and East Africa contracting officer, the US announced Monday that activities including salaries and wages, operations, domestic and international travel as well as meetings and workshops have been halted.

However, the suspension had been communicated to the Kenyan government on May 4 according to Mr Woody’s letter.

“Any activities conducted with the MoH during the period of suspension will not be reimbursed by the United States government,” says the letter dated May 8.

Further, Mr Woody in the two-page letter, said they will meet with representatives of the affected programmes on Wednesday morning for an informal meeting at the Lord Errol hotel in Nairobi.

Efforts to get a comment from Afya House on the development was futile as the Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu did not respond by the time of going to press.