National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Rotich, Ministry of Health Cabinet Secretary Macharia, National Treasury Principal Secretary Thugge, Ministry of Health Principal Secretary Dr. Kassachoon, Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen
Waheshima, mabibi na mabwana,
I am honored to join you today to celebrate the signing of seven new grant agreements of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. The U.S. Government is a proud partner in, and supporter of, Global Fund efforts around the world and in Kenya. I am happy to be here today as we mark this very important partnership.
Malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV are among the greatest global health issues facing humanity today. These pandemics transcend national borders. They transcend race, religion, tribe, and political party. They transcend all of that which too often divides us, and underscore the need for us to come together as neighbors, as partners, as global citizens. Global health is a shared responsibility and it is all of our responsibility.
HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria continue to be leading causes of death among Kenyans. In 2014, more than 58,000 Kenyans died from AIDS- related illnesses. Tuberculosis is the fourth-leading cause of death in Kenya and malaria remains a leading cause of death among children under five.
Yet despite the challenges that remain, we have already seen remarkable progress in the prevention, control, and treatment of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria here in Kenya. The number of people living with HIV/AIDS on treatment has increased dramatically, from 36,000 in 2005 to nearly 800,000 today. At least 60,000 of those receiving treatment are children. We have seen a decline in the number of tuberculosis cases, following years of successful treatment. In the battle against malaria, the number of households with insecticide-treated mosquito nets surged from 5.9 percent in 2003 to 59 percent in 2014, and that number jumps even higher to 74 percent in malaria-endemic regions of the country. It is truly impressive what Kenya has accomplished in a short time. Hongera.
In July, Kenya hosted the historic visit of President Barack Obama. During the visit, the President had some important words to say about our collaboration on public health issues. He said, “…across Africa, Kenya, and the United States, we’ll keep working to strengthen public health systems and deal with outbreaks of diseases before they become epidemics…Together we can save lives.” Today we take another step forward in realizing President Obama’s commitment to partner with Kenya to improve health in this country.
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria is a crucial element of the worldwide response to eliminate these three diseases. The U.S. Government is pleased to be both the first and largest donor to the Global Fund. The Global Fund uses an inclusive process that involves governments, civil society, and communities affected by these diseases to determine how financial support can save the most lives and maximize public health benefits. Because of this collaborative process and its remarkable results, we have been increasing our donations to the Fund each year.
The collective effort of the Global Fund, the Government of Kenya, and civil society, in the fight against these pandemics has already saved countless lives in Kenya and has reduced the suffering and misery that accompany these diseases. But we can’t stop here – we must redouble our commitment and resolve. Continued, concerted effort to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria are critical now if we are to eliminate these diseases.
Kenya is an example to the world of what can be accomplished through unified effort among partners from across government and civil society. For the first time, the Government of Kenya has contributed 2.6 billion Kenyan shillings toward HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria commodities and donated $2 million to the Global Fund. This government action and this ceremony today signify the steadfast commitment of everyone present to eradicating these three diseases.
The Global Fund agreements we are signing today represent a big step toward making AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis problems of the past. When we work together to improve public health in Africa and around the world, we save lives, and build a better future for everyone. I am pleased at the progress we are making here today and look forward to continuing our strong partnership in this most important of efforts.
Pamoja tusonge mbele.