Kenya experiencing acute shortage of Antiretroviral drugs (ARVs)

MIAMI - JULY 11: Alba Cerrato displays her cocktail of 14 different AIDS medications that she takes three times a day July 11, 2002 in Miami, Florida. Cerrato contracted the disease in 1994 from her boyfriend who passed away in 1999. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers have warned that HIV infection rates among women were on the rise. HIV-positive women of childbearing age between13 to 44 , soared from 80,000 to 135,000 from 1991 to 2000 in the U.S. The international conference on HIV/AIDs currently going on in Spain will discuss reducing the price of antiretroviral drugs so people in developing countries can have better access to treatment. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Kenya is experiencing an acute shortage of Antiretroviral (ARV) drugs which has hit public hospitals, greatly affecting people living with HIV/Aids.

The shortage comes just months after the World Health Organization (WHO) said nearly 70 countries were at risk of running out of HIV/Aids drugs due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has interrupted supplies.

Now persons with HIV are having to endure reduced doses, with children and unborn babies particularly poised to suffer the most from a Sh90 million tax stand-off between Kenya and a US importer of ARVs, USAID.

As a result, the Pharmaceutical Society of Kenya has called on  President Uhuru Kenyatta to urgently instruct the foreign affairs, health and finance ministries to solve the diplomatic matter between Kenya and USAID.

Homa Bay county has become the most affected as the lifesaving drugs lie at the port.

On Friday, some Nyanza Members of Parliament also appealed to the President to intervene in the standoff.

“We are concerned for our people, that we are going to have more deaths, probably more than those dying of COVID-19,” Homa Bay Woman Rep Gladys Wanga said.

“There is also an acute shortage of rapid test kids. The only way you test people and get them into treatment is through the rapid test.  Currently, they are only choosing who to test because many facilities do not have these kits,” she added.

(With input from Agencies)

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