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Clinton to launch key counter HIV initiative in Kenya
Updated: 2005-07-22 20:28

Former US president Bill Clinton who arrived in Kenya on Friday is scheduled to launch a major initiative to counter HIV infections among children in the east African country on Saturday.

"This initiative, as part of the foundation's global goal to have 10,000 children on anti-retroviral treatment (ART) by the end of 2005, will focus on getting an additional 1,000 Kenyan children who are HIV positive on appropriate medications," a statement from the Clinton Foundation said in Nairobi Friday.

The statement said the effort, carried out in close collaboration with the Kenyan health authorities, will effectively double the number of children in the country on ART.

The Clinton Foundation's work in Africa has concentrated on helping governments' design and implement AIDS treatment programs, with a special focus on children, rural areas and widening access to affordable AIDS drugs.

Clinton, who began a weeklong six-nation tour of Africa last Sunday, is scheduled to meet senior government officials including President Mwai Kibaki.

The former US president will also meet partners involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Apart from the Pediatric Initiative, the Clinton Foundation said it has also established a Rural Initiative that will bring care and treatment to HIV positive adults living in the vast rural areas of Kenya.

Clinton began the trip Sunday in Mozambique and traveled to Lesotho and South Africa Monday and Tuesday. He arrives in Kenya from Tanzania, and is expected in Rwanda later Saturday.

His foundation is spending some US$10 million on AIDS- affected children this year, mainly in rural Africa. Since 2002, the Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative has been assisting countries in implementing large-scale, integrated care, treatment and prevention programs.

According to the United Nations AIDS program, sub-Saharan Africa is home to more than 60 percent of people around the world living with HIV.

In 2004, an estimated 3.1 million people in the region became newly infected.

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