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

 

Kibaki Forms HIV/Aids Cabinet Team

Patrick Wachira
Nairobi

The fight against HIV/Aids scaled new heights yesterday when President Mwai Kibaki announced the formation of a Cabinet committee to be chaired by himself.

The President said the committee would ensure co-ordination in Government and is to be established soon. He did not give details of its membership or specific mandate.

At the same time, the Head of State said the National Aids Control Council (Nacc) must be re-energised by involving all the ministries at the highest level "to oversee the programmes under my leadership".

 

President Kibaki also said the Council should be facilitated to mobilise resources to be channelled directly to those in need.

The President's orders were apparently prompted by concerns raised by Kenyans and development partners that most of the assistance aimed at those directly affected does not reach them and only a little trickles down to them.

The President was speaking at State House Gardens, Nairobi when he launched the "War Against HIV/Aids" in which religious leaders and faiths heads committed themselves to fight the scourge with more vigour and fervour.

"Ladies and gentlemen, the complexity of the Aids pandemic is enormous. It causes serious social dislocation, affects all aspects of society, lowers production in all sectors and impoverishes our communities.

"We cannot afford to sit back as the pandemic ravages our nation. We must mobilise our people and make them play their rightful roles in strategies and interventions aimed at reducing HIV/Aids infections," said he.

There is need to ensure, the President said, that programmes introduced to combat the scourge are demand-driven "so that the resources go directly to the needy for education, drugs, counselling and agreed pragmatic activities.

He said the Government would assist the religious sector with resources so that "from your vantage point and as an additional vehicle, you can assist the Government to win this war".

It was crucial, he asserted, that those affected are not left to feel lonely or isolated but "should feel that their families, neighbours, communities and the whole country cares for them".

President Kibaki told the gathering it was no use improving the welfare of Kenyans, yet so many of them were dying daily from the disease.

 

"At least three people die every three minutes from the pandemic, We must eradicate this disease. This is an enormous number and those who die are the vigorous ones!" he said.

The Head of State urged communities to desist from stigmatising the affected, saying awareness needed to be stepped up and a sense of caring inculcated among neighbours.