By Derrick Kiplagat
The United States government is set to help Kenya deal with bio-terrorism and emerging diseases. During a joint press conference on Saturday, U.S. President Barrack Obama promised that the U.S. government will work closely with Kenya to deal with diseases and other public health dangers before they worsen.
This is to be achieved through strengthening laboratory capacities, training emergency response teams and creating rapid emergency response units. The help is set to reach the Kenyan government through the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA), which is an international initiative launched at the White House in September 2014 to help prevent epidemics and rapidly responding to outbreaks such as swine flu and Ebola.
Health Cabinet Secretary James Macharia represented Kenya during the launch of the GHSA at the White House in Washington D.C. Countries participating in the initiative are supposed to implement the International Health Regulations, which were developed in 2005 through the World Health Organization (WHO).
According to the director of medical services Nicholas Muraguri in a HR monitoring report last year, the country is behind schedule in meeting the targets agreed upon. The government has since sought a two- year extension to meet the targets.
The U.S. government’s partnership with the Kenyan government in actualizing the initiative will entail strengthening laboratory and health workers’ capacity to detect and respond rapidly to infectious disease threats. During the press conference, President Obama also indicated his government intends to continue funding HIV/AIDs control and treatment activities in Kenya. This year alone, the U.S. plans to spend Ksh. 34 billion to fund such programs.