Speech by His Excellency Hon. Uhuru Kenyatta, C.G.H, President and Commander in Chief of the Defence forces of the Republic of Kenya at the official launch of Kenya’s Fast-Track Plan to End Adolescent AIDS and the HIV Situation Room at KICC, Nairobi on 17th September, 2015
Ladies and Gentlemen,
1. Seven months today, at this same venue, I presided over the Global launch of the All In! Campaign, aimed at ending adolescent HIV and AIDS.
2. The campaign was informed by the knowledge that although we have made tremendous progress in reducing the HIV prevalence and initiated more than 800,000 Kenyans on life-long medication, thereby averting half a million deaths, our young people have been left behind.
3. Whereas, we had reached over 80% of adults in need of Anti- Retroviral Therapy, we had only reached less than half of our young people. I made it very clear at the time that this was not acceptable in anywhere in Africa.
4. Our country faces a unique situation of an exploding youth bulge. This population must be turned into a dividend in order to harness the power of Africa rising. It is this population that faces significant challenges such as new HIV infections, with AIDS being the leading cause of death.
5. Exploiting the much anticipated youth dividend means extra- ordinary action on the part of leaders and individual Kenyans to safeguard the lives of young Kenyans.
6. It is for this reason that I am back here to launch Kenya’s fast- track plan to end HIV and AIDS among adolescents and young people. I wish to commend the Ministries of Health and Education and the multi- sectoral and inter-ministerial National Steering Committee that developed this plan, drawing on our National HIV and AIDS strategic framework to outline priority interventions with clear targets for Ministries, Counties and partners.
7. I am pleased that the plan is premised on the UNAIDS90-90-90 targets by 2030, and contributing to global goals as espoused in the Sustainable Development Goals that all countries will be signing to next week in New York. Ladies and Gentlemen, 8. The fast-track plan sets out clear targets to be met.
9. The revolutionary Kenya HIV prevention roadmap is clear that if we adopt an approach targeting population, location and risk profiles, we will avert 1.1 million new infections, 760,000 deaths, 11,000 of these being children.With this plan, we will ensure 80% of Kenyan adolescents and youth are tested and aware of their HIV status. 10. My Government will enroll an additional 130,000 children into anti-retroviral therapy and scale up implementation of the HIV curriculum in all secondary schools.
11. Achieving these goals requires resources, and thus in February, I committed to increased investment in health and HIV. I am proud to note that in the current financial year, my Government has allocated 2.6billion Kenya shillings to HIV, TB and malaria.
12. This plan also leverages existing financial, technical and human support by development partners such as the Global Fund and DANIDA as well as including the initiatives to scale up HIV care and treatment for children and young women announced by the President of theUnited States,H.E Barrack Obama, during his recent visit to Kenya. I urge all
partners and stakeholders to commit to achieving the objectives laid out in this plan and I look forward to receiving progress reports. Ladies and Gentlemen,
13. As we know, what gets measured, gets done. In February this year, I gave a directive to be kept abreast of the HIV, reproductive, maternal and child health situation in Kenya on a regular basis.
14. I am pleased that an Internet based dashboard, the Kenya HIV situation room, has now been availed at my office is. I am very delighted to launch it today.
15. The use of ICT is a priority for my Government as reflected in Kenya’s data revolution conference hosted by the Deputy President two weeks ago, where different sectors explored how ICT can revolutionize data use. The Kenya HIV situation room is one such innovation. It is an intelligent system that draws data from several independent sub-systems including the public sector Maisha reporting system, as well as Counties and health facilities, and presents a national picture in simple graphics for myself and policy makers to make decisions and track progress.
16. The system has capacity for infinite expansion hence provides a platform for continuous improvement in the use of technology for development. I am informed that Counties are expected to have their specific situation rooms that provide one-stop shops for each County to track its progress, plan and allocate resources.
17. I commend the developers, the UNAIDS and the National AIDS Control Council for this product that is also available in tablet devices.
18. I also acknowledge the support of the Japanese Government for their financial support for this situation room and also acknowledge the presence of H.E. the Ambassador.
Ladies and Gentlemen, 19. As I conclude, I would like to remind us that these investments are aimed at safeguarding our children, our future. At the All In launch, I was particularly touched by young Elijah, who shared his personal struggles with stigma and discrimination, noting that this was common for our young people living with HIV. 20. The consequences of this are that young people are less likely to disclose their HIV status, get tested, adopt preventive behavior or access treatment. This is unacceptable because our constitution guarantees every
child the right to education, the highest attainable standard of health and protection from all forms of discrimination.
21. It is therefore my desire that every young Kenyan living with HIV does not face discrimination in our schools and communities.
22. Shared prosperity will only be achieved, when we have shared responsibility. I am committed to the future of our young people and I will lead by example. I am therefore today launching the campaign to end HIV stigma and discrimination against our children. We cannot change anyone’s HIV status, but we can change our attitude. So,LET’S STOP STIGMA, SASAHIVI.
I thank you all. May God bless you.