There is a shortage of HIV drugs in Kenya, as people say they are at risk

Nairobi, Kenya (AP) — Kenyans living with HIV are at risk of life due to a shortage of antiretroviral drugs donated by the United States in a conflict between US aid agencies and the Kenyan government. He states that he is exposed.

According to activists and officials, the delay in the release of drugs shipped to Kenya at the end of last year was due to the government imposing a $ 847,902 tax on donations and US aid agencies contaminated with grafts in Kenyan medical supplies. This is because they have problems with the station and “trust”.

Friday activists dismissed Thursday’s government statement as “public relations,” resolved the issue and distributed the drug to 31 of 47 counties in Kenya. The government said that within five days all counties would have the medicine needed for 1.4 million people.

“We assure the country that patients will not miss the drug,” Jeffrey Mwagwi, customer service manager at the Kenya Medical Surprise Authority, said when he flagged the consignment. He said those drugs would cover two months.

The United States is Kenya’s largest donor of HIV control.

Kenyan health minister Mutahi Kagwe told the Senate Health Commission earlier this week that USAID had released a drug consignment stuck in the harbor. Patients are expected to receive them during the week.

He said USAID proposed using a company called Chemonics International to procure and supply medicines to Kenyans because of a “trust issue” with the country’s pharmaceutical institutions.

Bernard Balidi, CEO of Blast, a network of young people living with illness, said the drug lasts for only a month.

He said the delay in drug distribution, in addition to the supply constraints caused by the coronavirus pandemic, meant that many people living with HIV were on supply for a week instead of three months. ..

Many people who depend on drugs may find it difficult to travel long distances to get their drugs and find a means of transportation each week.

“Access will reduce medication compliance …. If you don’t receive the drug, you’ll lose people,” he said.

According to Balidi, children living with HIV suffer most from the lack of a drug called Kaletra, which is provided in the form of a syrup that is easier to consume. Parents are forced to look for the drug in the form of tablets, crush it and mix it with water, which is still bitter for children to take.

Balidi urged the Kenyan government and USAID to find a solution for children as to who should distribute the drug quickly.

On Thursday, about 200 people living with HIV in Kisumu, Kenya’s third largest city, wore T-shirts with the words “My life in my ARV,” and said, “The sick country is a dead country.” A peaceful protest was held with a poster stating “Murderer”. government. “

According to local rights activist Boniface Ogutu Akach, about 136,000 people live with HIV in Kisumu, which is about 13% of the city’s population.

“We can’t keep this population declining just because we can’t get some medicine, because the government wants to tax donations,” he said.

HIV-infected Eric Okioma said the COVID-19 pandemic has distracted government attention and affected community perceptions.

“People are even more afraid of being infected with COVID than HIV,” Okuma said, claiming that the local HIV testing and treatment center was empty.

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