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Friday, 26 November, 1999, 14:38 GMT
Moi: Aids a 'national disaster'
nurse's hands on man's head Moi on Aids: "No family in Kenya is untouched"

By East Africa correspondent Martin Dawes

Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi has declared Aids a national disaster, but has sent ambivalent signals about what should be done.

Aids ... is a real threat to our very existence
President Moi
At a conference attended by all the country's MPs, he announced the establishment of a national control council and said that quack doctors peddling false cures would be punished.

But the president has also reportedly restated a long-standing view that the government and churches will not advocate condom use, as this would appear to give youth a passport to casual sex.

Such a statement is likely to concern foreign aid donors.

Confused signals

And there can be no doubt the confused signals sent by the Kenyan Government and some church leaders have led to lost lives and lost opportunities as Aids has bitten deeply into the population.

Aids Special Report
There are communities in Kenya that are said to have an HIV infection rate of about 40% and the number of deaths is expected to reach nearly three million by 2005.

President Moi has only recently started to take a lead on the issue, but has been known to declare in speeches that women are to blame.

One donor has said that there is no doubt that countries with successful Aids control programmes are countries with clear government policies.

Youths must be made aware of the futility of promiscuous sex
President Moi
The British Government has said that it will be spending another 6m ($10m) over the next two years on Aids prevention and control in Kenya.

Through its Development Aid budget, Britain provides millions of condoms to dispensaries and family groups, yet at a special ceremony every year Catholic bishops burn such contraceptives as a protest over their use.

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See also:
26 Nov 99 |  Health
Rich countries 'hinder fight against Aids'
26 Nov 99 |  Medical notes
Aids drugs and the developing world
11 Jun 99 |  Africa
Aids forces change on Kenya's Luo people
04 Oct 99 |  From Our Own Correspondent
Aids and the company
04 Nov 99 |  Aids
Aids up close
04 Oct 99 |  Africa
Africa on the Aids frontline
25 Aug 99 |  Africa
Kenya plays the numbers game

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