Shortages of antivirals come amid a dispute between the US aid agency and the Kenyan government.
Kenyans living with HIV say their lives are in jeopardy due to a shortage of US-sponsored antivirals during a dispute between the US aid agency and the Kenyan government.
The delayed release of drugs shipped to Kenya late last year came after the government imposed a tax of $ 847,902 on this contribution. Activists and officials said the US aid agency had a “trust” problem with the Kenyan Medical Supplies Agency.
Activists on Friday rejected the government’s claim to “public relations” on Thursday that they had solved the problem and distributed drugs to 31 of Kenya’s 47 counties. The government says all counties within five days will have enough medicine for 1.4 million people.
“We are assuring the country that no patients will quit smoking. We have enough stock, ”said Kenyan Health Supplies Customer Service Manager Geoffrey Mwagwi as he marked a shipment. Those drugs will be covered for two months, he said.
The United States is by far the largest donor of Kenya’s response to HIV.
Kenya’s Health Minister, Mutahi Kagwe, told the Senate’s medical committee earlier this week that USAID had cleared a shipment of drugs stuck at the port. Patient is expected to receive in the week.
He said USAID has proposed to use a company called Chemonics International to buy and supply drugs to Kenyans because of a “problem of trust” with the national health provider.
Bernard Baridi, chief executive of Blast, a network of young people living with the disease, said the drug will last for just one month.
The delay in drug delivery, coupled with supply constraints caused by the coronavirus pandemic, means more people living with HIV will get a supply in a week instead of three months, he said.
Many of those who depend on drugs have to travel long distances to get their medications, Baridi said, and may have difficulty finding a weekly means of transportation, and if they don’t take the medication, they develop a sex drive. drug resistance.
Some people are not even able to access medical facilities to receive the drug because of lock-in measures in place to combat the spread of coronavirus, he added.
“Drug compliance will be less because of accessibility … If we don’t get the drug, we lose people,” says Baridi.
Bernard Baridi, National Ambassador of HIV Prevention for Youth: Young people are on medication for 2 weeks, even a week because of a shortage & they are now taking it today & skipping tomorrow to take medicine last longer #Daybreak pic.twitter.com/O2pRTbNf3a
– Citizen TV Kenya (@citizentvkenya) March 31, 2021
Children with HIV are suffering the most from a lack of a drug called Kaletra, which comes in a form of a syrup that can be taken more easily, according to Baridi. Parents are forced to find drugs in the form of tablets, crush them and mix with water, and let their children drink it, which still has a bitter taste.
Baridi urged the Kenyan government and USAID to find a solution to see who should deliver drugs quickly for the benefit of children.
On Thursday, about 200 people living with HIV in Kisumu, Kenya’s third largest city, held a peaceful protest wearing T-shirts that read “My ARV’s My Life” and carrying posters that read “A sick nation is a dead nation” and “A killer government”.
Local rights activist Boniface Ogutu Akach says about 136,000 people are infected with HIV in Kisumu, or about 13% of the city’s population.
“We can’t keep quiet and watch this population wear out just because they can’t afford the medicine somewhere, and that’s happening because the government wants to tax a donation,” he said.
Erick Okioma, who has HIV, said government attention was diverted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“People are more afraid of being infected with COVID than HIV, and affirmed that the local HIV testing and treatment centers do not have anyone,” said Okioma.