WHO denies suspension of financial support to Health ministry

The World Health Organization has denied suspending its financial support to the Ministry of Health.

Since January 2016, the organisation said, it has disbursed about Sh1.3 billion using the direct financial contribution mechanism, mainly for the polio eradication campaigns and Guinea worm surveillance and awareness activities.

“Accountability for these funds is ongoing in line with WHO financial management rules, procedures and timelines,” WHO Kenya representative Rudi Eggers said in a statement.

According to the organisation, more than 95 per cent of these funds “have either been accounted for or relate to activities that were completed recently, such as the polio eradication campaign in April where financial reports are still being compiled and are due in August.”

The statement comes a day after the Ministry of Health, through an internal letter addressed to the Council of Governors, said that the WHO had suspended funding to Afya House due to delayed accountability of an estimated Sh11.2 million sent to counties. The ministry later denied the allegation.

Mr Eggers added: “For the remainder, including the Sh11.2 million quoted in the media, the Ministry of Health has been following up with the counties involved to ensure the reporting against all DFC funds is done.”

In the letter dated May 29, and seen by the Nation, Director of Medical Services Jackson Kioko gave county governments two days to furnish the ministry with expenditure returns to stop the suspension which, he said, had been prompted by lack of accountability.

Dr Kioko said that the ministry had disbursed the money to all 47 counties for advocacy and surveillance against Guinea worm, a neglected tropical disease, between January and March this year but counties are yet to account for it.

“Today, very few counties have submitted expenditure returns for the funds they received and only 20 counties have submitted activity reports,” the letter noted, adding that “subsequently, WHO has suspended further disbursement of funds …”

In his letter to CoG Chairman Josphat Nanok went on to say: “This is to bring to your attention the urgency of this matter and the need for expeditious action on your part by May 31, 2017.”

“The Sh11.2 million was disbursed directly by the WHO to the affected Counties and the Ministry of Health has been following up to ensure that the said funds are accounted for and reports submitted to WHO,” said Principal Secretary Julius Korir.

Based on the latest returns, Mr Korir said that only two of the 20 Counties which received funds the advocacy and surveillance funds have not submitted the reports which are expected by Friday this week, which also contradicts Dr Kioko’s letter which noted that only 20 counties had submitted activity reports.

Two years ago the government offered a Sh100,000 cash reward to persons who would report any cases of guinea worm disease. The offer was part of a Sh22 million campaign launched by the Ministry of Health to create awareness about the disease as well as collect data that would be presented to the World Health Organisation (WHO) for disease clearance certification.

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