Kenya cuts malaria drug prices

February 10, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 10 – Kenya has drastically reduced the retail price for the Artemesinin-based Combination Therapy (ACT), cutting it from Sh600 to Sh20.

Public Health Minister Beth Mugo announced on Wednesday that the reduction which will come to effect from June was aimed at scaling up the fight against malaria which is estimated to kill about 34,000 children below five years in Kenya annually.

“For every dollar worth of medicines we will only be paying five US cents and that’s a very big boost,” said the Minister expressing hope of eliminating malaria by 2017.

ACT is the World Health Organisation recommended anti malarial drug.

Mrs Mugo said the private sector would be required to reduce the prices once the programme became effective.

“Anyone who really is worth their soul must care about Kenyans’ health so once that medicine comes into the market we expect them to comply,” she said.

Head of Malaria Division at the Ministry Dr Elizabeth Juma however said the exchange rate fluctuations could force the price to go up to Sh30.

“That has not been worked out with the distributors in the private sector but we hope that it will not exceed Sh20-Sh30 per dose,” she said.

It is estimated that about 3.7 million Kenyans were at risk of malaria infection annually and the government recommends use of insecticide treated mosquito nets to prevent malaria infection.

The Minister said that although there had been a shortage of the nets for free distribution in the malaria control programme, the gap had been filled. She said the country had a shortfall of 11 million nets after it failed to secure round nine of the Global fund against HIV, TB and Malaria.

“We got UNITAID to support us with five million nets through UNICEF; we got another million nets from the World Bank and we have been able to re-programme one of our rounds to add another 2.3 million nets. The balance will be got through re-programming some money from World Bank that is already in Treasury and we have agreed this with World Bank,” she said.


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