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Several groups have demanded that the government increases its funding for vaccines and treatment of diseases like HIV, TB and malaria.

Currently, external donors finance close to 80 per cent of all vaccines and HIV treatment in Kenya.

The country is expected to lose some donor support progressively, because of a flourishing economy.

Speaking in Nairobi, several lobby groups urged President Uhuru Kenyatta to attend the Africa Leadership Meeting in Addis Ababa on 8th February, which will discuss health financing.

“This is a preparatory meeting by heads of states, in readiness for the 6th Replenishment of the Global Fund which will take place in France in October 2019,” said Matungulu MP Stephen Mule, who leads the Kenya TB Caucus and Africa TB Caucus.

The Addis meeting is important as African countries will implore developed countries to donate more money into global health by showcasing the impact of the the funds in Africa.

Olivia Ngou the global coordinator of the Civil Society for Malaria Elimination, said Kenya must now increase budget for malaria treatment and reduce the dependency on donor funding.

“What would happen to citizens should donors withdraw funding? Africans for Africa,” she said yesterday.

Kenya usually co-funds most programmes financed by donors.

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Currently, Kenya pays for 10 per cent of its entire vaccine budget, while financing agency Gavi pays 90 per cent — about Sh4 billion yearly.

According to Global Fund, Kenya meets all its co-financing commitments and it fulfilled its $5 million [Sh500 million] pledge made to the Global Fund last year.

The Global Fund is a partnership organisation designed to accelerate the end of Aids, TB and malaria as epidemics.

MP Mule said it will be difficult to attain Universal Health Coverage with excessive reliance on donor funds.

“I urge all African presidents to attend the AU summit in Addis Ababa and pledge to contribute domestic resources for health. Allocated resources should be used strictly for their intended purposes,” he said.

Maurine Murenga, the head of Lean on me Foundation, said health is a human right and citizens should not suffer financial hardships when they seek medical care.

“Increased domestic resources for health save lives,” She said.

Kenya is already in the process of transitioning out of support from Gavi.

The 10-year process began in 2017 and will particularly accelerate in 2022.

When a country’s gross national income exceeds the eligibility threshold, currently Sh158,000 for Kenya, it loses Gavi’s support and must pay for its vaccines.

Kenya rebased its economy three years ago, pushing the GNI to Sh135,000 ($1,350 ) per capita.

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