Washington Post Examines Kenya’s Blood Supply, Impact Of PEPFAR Aid Transition

Washington Post: Kenya’s blood banks are running dry after the U.S. ended aid — and a baby’s life is at risk
“…The country had relied for years almost entirely on U.S. aid for its state-run blood transfusion service, but the funding was discontinued in September. The director of the service, part of Kenya’s Health Ministry, said the support ended abruptly and prematurely, leaving Kenyan officials unprepared. But U.S. officials said a transition of responsibility had been discussed for 10 years. The U.S. government gave Kenya $72.5 million over more than 15 years through its global HIV/AIDS … program, called PEPFAR, to build its blood safety and transfusion infrastructure nearly from scratch — from the blood banks themselves to equipment and training. The aid was aimed at building confidence in blood collection so Kenyans wouldn’t fear getting tested for the virus. ‘The United States had consulted with the government of Kenya for several years on plans to transition this blood safety assistance to their responsibility,’ said U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Kyle McCarter. … But the Kenyan government did not provide for the transfusion service in its budget for 2020, and the past year’s blood collection totals were dire, according to Fridah Govedi, the head of the transfusion service…” (Bearak/Ombour, 1/30).

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