The Kenya AIDS Nongovernmental Organizations Consortium (KANCO) and the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) anticipate more than 2,000 participants will march from Jevanjee Gardens to Uhuru Park in Nairobi during their sponsored NO RETREAT ON AIDS event on Friday, May 10. The march is part of AHF’s worldwide “Keep the Promise on AIDS” campaign to sustain HIV funding from key partners like the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). The theme of the Nairobi march is “Msi Sare Now, Fund HIV.” Msi Sare is slang for “don’t give up.”
AHF launched the campaign in July 2012 when 1,432 organizations from 103 countries marched during the XIX International AIDS Conference in Washington, DC, to solicit global funding. Participants in the initial rally included Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Rev. Al Sharpton, Wyclef Jean, Tavis Smiley, Dr. Cornel West, Ambassador Andrew Young, and Margaret Cho. A November 2012 “Keep the Promise” rally in Atlanta focused on healthcare reform, prevention and care in rural areas, and housing for HIV-infected persons. A similar rally and march took place in April 2013 in New York City. Supporters in Cleveland plan a rally on May 11.
PEPFAR funding cuts that resulted in the closure of a Durban, South Africa HIV clinic that served 5,000 men, women, and children, inspired the first African “Keep the Promise” rally in February 2013. Swaziland also plans a “Keep the Promise”-themed rally on May 12.
AHF Kenya Consultant and Senior Advisor Dr. Stephen Karau urged the US government to restructure programs to make funds stretch further or increase funding to consolidate gains against the HIV epidemic.
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