NAIROBI – AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), in conjunction Kenya AIDS NGOs Consortium (KANCO), organized a NO RETREAT ON AIDS march in Nairobi, Kenya from Jevanjee Gardens to Uhuru Park on Friday May 10, 2013 to protest the loss of lifesaving and much-needed funding. The inspirational movement saw more than 3,000 united in a call for greater responsibility for controlling HIV/AIDS in the East African nation from governments around the world, particularly those of the United States and Kenya.
“We had a successful march and rally today,” said Dr. Faith Ndungu, AHF Kenya Country Program Manager. “We marched through the city center raising awareness for HIV funding and pulling more people who joined us along the way. At Uhuru Park, speaker after speaker spoke about the progress achieved through support from governments, PEPFAR, and the Global Fund – and the need for continued and increased funding.”
Among the dignitaries stressing the importance of sustained U.S. government investment in the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the support of more governments for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria was Hon. Zipporah Kittony, the Health Committee Vice Chairperson of the Kenyan Senate, who has also served as a member of the Parliament and on the Committee of the National AIDS Control Council.
Kittony said she appreciated AHF and the partnering Kenyan civil society organizations (CSOs) for bringing issues surrounding HIV funding and the sources of such funds to light. Additionally, the dignitary promised to work in her position at the Senate to ensure more funds are allocated to health and that the Kenyan government implements a five-year pledge plan with a strong emphasis on health.
Additional guests of honor included Majority Chief whip of the Kenyan Senate Hon. Beatrice Elachi, who flagged off the march after addressing the gathered crowd, which began congregating at Jevanjee Gardens as early as 7 am and had reached more than 3,000 people by 9 am. Top Kenyan musical artists Daddy Owen and Jaguar both performed at the Uhuru Park rally after the march and speeches.