USAID health aid suspension will not affect women, anti-retroviral therapy services

Essential services for women such as family planning, reproductive, maternal, neonatal child and adolescent health by USAID will not be affected by the suspension of the $21 million (2.1 billion KSH) in assistance to the Ministry of Health.

 
Other services that will not be affected include those concerning nutrition, water, sanitation, hygiene; malaria prevention and treatment. The treatment and control of and tuberculosis is also among the services that will not be affected.

 
Funding for procurement of commodities and equipment related to life-saving treatment, prevention, outbreak or emergency response have been exempted as well.

 
The announcement of the suspension that was made on Tuesday got many people by surprise, and others who depended on such services were concerned by this turn of events, wondering if they will still get the services.

 
In an interview with Afromum, Nadine Sunderland from the US Embassy sent an excerpt of the statement from the embassy on the matter.

 
“We took this step because of ongoing concern about reports of corruption and weak accounting procedures at the Ministry. The action is intended to ensure that health care spending reaches those in need, and to protect U.S. taxpayer money. We are working with the Ministry on ways to improve accounting and internal controls and hope to restore the funding when appropriate progress is made, read the excerpt. ”

 
“Our support for life-saving and essential health services, such as providing anti-retroviral therapy for a million Kenyans, is not affected by the suspension. We will continue to provide funding for health services and medications going directly to Kenyans, read another part.”

 
“That is all we have for now,” she concluded.

 
According to the statement, the suspended $21 million (2.1 billion KSH) in assistance to the Ministry of Health represents only a small portion of the overall U.S. health investment in Kenya, which exceeds $650 million (65 billion KSH) annually.

 
That position was also upheld by Cabinet Secretary for health Dr. Cleopha Mailu who in a statement to newsroom said that the suspension was “temporary” and will not affect other programs that the US supports.

 
“This suspension only affects [program] administrative support and does not affect health service delivery to Kenyans. Consequently, we assure Kenyans that stock outs or non-availability of medical supplies will not be experienced.

 
“Therefore, there will be no interruptions of health care provision during the period of suspension,” he said.

 
Mailu has committed to ensuring that the there is prudent management of finances at the ministry and that there is more accountability. He has not said how he will be carrying out the changes to help in this.

 
“We, therefore, continue to engage the US government to address their concerns with a view [to] lifting the suspension,” he said.
The suspended aid will affect matters to do with administration, and these include domestic and international travel, operations, salaries and wages, meetings and workshops.

 
According to Brian Woody, a Contracting Officer at USAID Kenya and East Africa surveillance and service delivery will also continue receiving donor money from USAID.

 
As far as salary is concerned, it is those of administrative staff, project coordinators, supply chain offers, accountants, financial officers, field epidemiology and laboratory training program that have been affected.

 
“If your organization is directly impacted by this suspension you will receive a separate letter suspending activities and assistance to the MoH.”

 
“However, whether you receive a separate letter or not, you are to refrain from any activities further specified in this letter and inform your contracting or agreement officer immediately,” Woody said.
The agency will also not fund brochures, training materials, and guidance documents but the clinic data collection tools and national guidelines may be exempted from the suspension.

 

“Please contact your COR/AOR before conducting any of these activities,” he said.

 
The Star reports that other departments that have been cut include ICT, security services, building and equipment maintenance, fleet maintenance and fuel.

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