Ambassador McCarter’s Remarks as prepared for
KENPHIA Preliminary Results Launch Celebration
Afya House, Nairobi
February 20, 2020
It’s my pleasure to join you for the release of the preliminary results from Kenya Population-based HIV Impact Assessment or KENPHIA. It’s an exciting moment in the U.S.-Kenya partnership and this report is one of the many, many examples of our strong and enduring friendship. In fact, just two weeks ago today, President Trump and President Kenyatta met at the White House in Washington, D.C. to discuss the importance to both our countries for a prosperous and healthy Kenya. President Trump stated during the State of the Union address that he is committed to ending the epidemic of HIV by 2030.
The United States strongly believes that a healthy Kenya can and will be a regional leader. These aren’t just words. The United States is one of the largest international investors in Kenya’s health sector with more than 60 billion Kenyan shillings in annual support. Our investment supports Kenya’s vision of a strong healthcare system delivering affordable, quality services to Kenyan men, women and children. And U.S. support has also helped make possible the report we’re celebrating today.
In the world of health, we rely on scientific experts and data to help us make the best possible decisions about policies and programs to improve the lives of our fellow citizens. The 2018 KENPHIA, funded by the United States government through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR, provides us the tool needed for data-driven decision making. The results from this report will very directly and positively impact those with HIV.
HIV is a disease that affects every community and the lives of many people we know. Since 2004, the U.S. government, through PEPFAR, has invested nearly 700 billion Kenyan shillings into the HIV response. After a decade of successful scale up of HIV prevention, care and treatment efforts in Kenya, KENPHIA enables us to evaluate our accomplishments and better understand the impact of HIV programs and investments to refine Kenya’s response to the epidemic. The American people did this because they cared and not because they were obligated.
The U.S. government celebrates with Kenya today as we collectively and confidently acknowledge the tremendous progress made towards ensuring that the vast majority of those diagnosed with HIV are not only receiving care, but also successfully managing their condition. And we’ve been able to confirm that while the greatest burden of HIV remains in western Kenya, there are also high rates of viral suppression, demonstrating that antiretroviral treatment is working, and that people living with HIV and on treatment are controlling the infection and therefore unlikely to pass the virus to others. With these new findings, Kenya is prepared to prioritize future investments and directions that will help achieve HIV epidemic control as quickly as possible.
Change is always a challenge. But through the KENPHIA results we can now confidently make decisions informed by credible information that will positively impact people’s lives and livelihoods.
A project as large as KENPHIA requires many people and institutions to make it happen. I’d like to acknowledge the many partners that have been focal to this important activity across the United States government and the UN family, the Global Fund, and ICAP at Columbia University. Government of Kenya partners have been pivotal to this process, including the National AIDS Control Council, National Bureau of Statistics, and the National Council for Population and Development. The engagement of the counties would not be possible without the involvement of the Council of Governors and other county officials. Thank you to the National Empowerment Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Kenya for helping to carry the message of KENPHIA along with the many other important partners here today. Your collective contributions to this effort embodies the spirit of the most recent World AIDS Day – Communities Make a Difference.
Finally and most importantly, congratulations to the countless people living with HIV who are on treatment and managing their conditions successfully in order to stop the spread of HIV and living healthier, productive lives for a more prosperous Kenya. They are my heroes. These indeed are the communities that make a difference.