By Winnie Kabintie
The rot in the Ministry Of Health (MOH) has been brought to the fore after USAID suspended $21m funding for activities carried out by a number of the Ministry’s departments over corruption and weak accounting procedures.
In a statement issued on Monday, the US said that the move is intended to ensure that “health care spending reaches those in need, and to protect US taxpayer money”.
Brian Woody, USAID Kenya and East Africa Contracting Officer, however, said that funding for procurement of commodities and equipment related to life-saving treatment, prevention, outbreak or emergency response have been exempted.
The suspension will see salaries and wages for project coordinators, administrative staff, accountants, supply chain officers, financial officers, field epidemiology and laboratory training program staff cut.
Funding for domestic, international travel and activities undertaken during such trips like training, conferences, site visits and conventions have also been suspended together with other activities like meetings, events, and workshops as well as the printing of communication material such as brochures, training materials, and guidance documents.
“If your organization is directly impacted by this suspension you will receive a separate letter suspending activities and assistance to the MoH.”
The statement says the suspension will be in effect until such a time specific conditions have been met but doesn’t list the conditions.
Afya House Scandal
An expose by the Business Daily in October last year revealed how Sh 5 billion was looted in Afya house in a mode similar to the Sh 791NYS scandal.
Nation media group (NMG), which runs the paper was forced to reprint copies of that day’s edition after a cartel bought off all the copies from vendors by6am, in an effort to stop the story from getting in the public domain.
The government, as usual, denied that there was any money lost.
Trump’s threat to cut aid coming to birth?
Observers are also linking the USAID suspension on funding to president Trump’s controversial policies on aid.
Trump has in his manifesto said that he will cut overseas aid, a decision that he reiterated even after his election on various interviews.
The US is the world’s biggest bilateral aid donor and Africa is a key recipient.
Kenya particularly has been said to be one of the African countries that will feel the weight of change of guard in the White House if initiatives like PEPFAR are curtailed.
When Obama visited Kenya in July 2015, he signed an MOU with President Uhuru Kenyatta that would see the US support the country in reducing child mortality from HIV/Aids and the prospect of that agreement remains unsealed. Last year, PEPFAR funding to Kenya increased to USD483 million.