•Pepfar contributes over 50 per cent of total HIV/Aids funds in Kenya every year with the rest coming from Global Fund.
•HIV funding from Pepfar has been reducing since 2018, without any notable increase from the Kenyan government.
Kenya is seeking an extension of the transition period for the US President's Emergency Plan for Aids Relief activities in the country.
Health CS Mutahi Kagwe in a meeting with United States Agency for International Development administrator Samantha Power on Friday said the country is still in need of the US government support as it recovers from the effects of Covid-19.
Countries such as Kenya that are moving from low to middle-income status are perceived as increasingly capable of financing their own health systems.
Some donors have started to transition their support out of such middle-income countries to redirect their funds to countries with greater needs.
Pepfar contributes more than 50 per cent of total HIV-Aids funds in Kenya every year, with the rest coming from the Global Fund.
The government mainly pays salaries of health workers involved in HIV response.
HIV funding from Pepfar has been reducing since 2018, without any notable increase from the Kenyan government.
This comes barely five months after the United States proposed a massive cut to its annual funding for Kenya’s HIV programmes.
Pepfar complained Kenya has become one of its biggest beneficiaries since 2003 but is doing too little to increase domestic funding to fight HIV.
Pepfar stopped funding the Kenya National Blood Transfusion Service in 2018, but the Kenyan government is yet to up its funding, leading to the current shortage of donated blood in hospitals.
People living with HIV are on record urging the government to increase funding and bridge the gap left.
“We are expressing worry but we hope the Kenya government steps in and increases allocation to cover the gap being left by Pepfar,” Nelson Otwoma, head of the HIV lobby Nephak said.
Kagwe said local and international support has proved critical in the implementation of a host of government projects and reforms geared towards improving the health sector.
“I wish to convey my appreciation to USAID for your continued support in the areas of HIV response, reproductive, maternal and child health issues that have taken a back seat due to the Covid-19 pandemic but are of great public health concern” he said.
Kagwe acknowledged Kenya’s collaboration with USAID for a sustainable and resilient public health response in special programmes.
They include HIV, TB, malaria, immunisation, blood transfusion services, family planning and reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health.
Power promised to engage with US government officials to push Kenya’s case and have proposals by Kagwe considered.
“When President Kenyatta met President Biden in the United States, he pledged his commitment to reform Kenya’s healthcare, a promise that he has kept," she said.
Last week, the US government approved Sh40.7 billion to fund HIV response in Kenya to be utilised between October this year and September 2023.
The amount was agreed on in February this year, subject to Kenya preparing a Country Operational Plan, which describes detailed priorities and strategies to guide the funding.
Kenya is one of the few countries nearing successful control of the HIV epidemic and reaching UNAIDS 95:95:95 goals.