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Kenya to hold talks over suspended health aid from USA

By Asma’u Ahmad

Kenya is set to hold talks this week with the United States of America in a bid to have Washington resume aid to Kenya’s health sector that was suspended on May 9 over corruption concerns, Kenyan officials said Monday.

Kenya’s Health Cabinet Secretary, Cleophas Mailu, told a media briefing that the talks will help Kenya finalize its position on the concrete steps to give comfort to donors to the health sector.

Mr. Cleophas Mailu

Speaking when the Health Ministry donated medical commodities to faith -based institutions worth 2.65 million U.S. dollars, Mr Mailu said, “We are confident that in the next weeks, the United States will rescind its decision suspending aid to Kenya’s health sector.”

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) on May 9, issued a directive to withhold logistics support to Kenya’s health sector until certain issues are resolved.

The cabinet secretary said the suspension will not affect service delivery of drugs or family planning services at Kenya’s health institutions. “So Kenyan should not have any fear that there will be stock outs at public health facilities,” he added.

Mr Mailu said that Kenya has been strengthening its procurement systems since last year when an audit revealed that funds were misappropriated.

The minister said: “The aim is to ensure that the system is tamper proof so that both government and donor money is not lost. However the reforms will not be complete overnight but we are committed to complete by next week, so that donors are assured that their money is safe.”

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