US suspends health aid to Kenya over corruption concerns

Kenya’s health ministry has suffered a major setback following the US government’s decision to suspend funding for various health-related programmes.

The US has not given any reasons for its decision, but said the funding will remain suspended until certain conditions are met.

The announcement comes at a time when the ministry is still recovering from a 100-day doctors’ strike, which paralysed medical services.

Civil society groups in Kenya have blamed corruption in the ministry for the decision.

This suspension is expected to impact heavily not only on the ministry, but also on health organisations which rely on US aid.

Among others, the suspension covers funding for capacity-building and technical support which have been critical in reforming the health sector.

However, funding for lifesaving and direct medical care have been exempted from the order.

Last year, Kenya’s auditor-general reported that $50m (£40m) was unaccounted for in an alleged scam involving top government officials at the ministry.

The health minister has denied wrongdoing, saying the report was leaked prematurely before the ministry’s accounting officers responded to the queries raised by the probe.

The US government’s move will now raise more questions about the management of funds in the ministry despite President Uhuru Kenyatta’s decision to replace its senior civil servant as part of efforts to rebuild its reputation.

The US has not said how much has been withheld or what condiions have to be met for funding to resume.

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