By Seliphar Musungu
Kakamega county has entered into a Sh260 million deal with USAID AMPATH plus to support HIV Aids programmes.
Governor Wycliffe Oparanya said that the funds will be used to pay salaries for health workers and stipend volunteers working under the programme annually.
“Sh246 million will be used to pay salaries for fulltime healthcare workers and additional Sh14 million to settle stipend for 201 volunteers working under the programme,” said Oparanya.
He added that Kakamega was the first county to get direct funding from the donors to support HIV Aids programmes.
The governor pointed out that this was achieved after the county enacted into law the Kakamega HIV, AIDs and Sexually Transmitted Infections Management Act in December 2020.
The law authorizes the county to seek direct partnership and funding from donors for health programmes.
“The Council of Governors (CoG) has been pushing to have direct funding from donors to counties for development programmes because national government starved devolved units funds from partners,” he added.
Oparanya was speaking at the county headquarters after signing an MOU with AMPATH for funding of the HIV Aids programmes.
Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH) Chief Executive Officer Dr Wilson Aruasa and Chief of Party AMPATH Plus Prof Sylvester Kimaiyo accompanied the governor.
Oparanya explained that HIV Aids has had adverse effects on the county adding that 47,000 people in the county were living with HIV Aids according to the 2020 Kenya HIV estimates.
“The county has 91,362 orphans out of which 19,361 are orphaned by HIV Aids, added the governor.
He pointed out that the county has stepped up campaigns to identify such people and put them on medication.
He noted that the county has been facing challenges in sustaining the programme due to poor cash flow from the national Treasury adding that the donor funding will fill the financial gaps.
Aruasa explained that MTRH AMPATH Plus has been providing health care to 39,000 HIV positive patients in Kakamega County.
He added that they have been supporting capacity building programmes for HIV care providers in the county.
The CEO added that their HIV Aids programmes have had positive impact in the county and pledged more support under the new deal.