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“The only thing necessary for these diseases to the triumph is for good people and governments to do nothing.”

   

Call to Move Aids Council

Nation Team
Nairobi

Members demanded to know why the National Aids Control Council operated under the office of the President.

The MPs said the council, formed to spearhead the fight against HIV/Aids, should be removed from the OP and placed under the Ministry of Health, where they said it belongs.

Mr Abdi Tari Sasura (Saku, Kanu) asked what skills the OP had to deal with Aids, while Dr Ali Abdulahi (Wajir North, Kanu) described the office as a bottomless pit that had swallowed all crucial government departments.

Speaker Francis Kaparo said the matter was serious and asked the Government to clear it.

"Do you have doctors at the OP? " he asked.

    

Dr Chris Murungaru, a minister of State in the Office of the President, promised a comprehensive answer on Thursday, describing the role the office plays in the fight against the disease.

Earlier, the MPs had demanded to be told why a few top officials of the National Aids Control Council earned a total of Sh63 million a year.

The MPs said there was no justification for the huge pay while the fight against Aids in the country was far from being won.

An attempt by assistant minister Stephen Tarus, to convince members that the officials deserved the pay because of the important work they did, was met with numerous points of order.

Mr Tarus said the salaries of the officials in the council had been increased to attract the best professionals in the field.

He said the issue of Aids could not be tackled by one ministry.

Mr Paul Muite (Kabete, Safina) asked why constituencies never received funds from the Aids Control Committee.

He said MPs were being unfairly accused by the electorate that they received the money and kept it.

Mr Tarus said the National Aids Control had so far received Sh1.269 billion from donors since 1992 to fight the disease.

The money had been spent well, he said, adding that the Aids prevalence rate within the 15-24 years age bracket had fallen by 14 per cent in 2000, 13 per cent in 2001 and 10.2 per cent last year.

The minister was answering a question from Mr Sasura who sought to know how much money the National Aids Control Council had received from donors in the last four years.

He also asked the minister to table a list showing how the funds were disbursed, and the impact of the council on anti-Aids campaigns.

    

Reports by Njeri Rugene, Odhiambo Orlale and Muriithi Muriuki