ARVs shortage looms in Kenya

February 26, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 26 – A local non governmental organisation dealing with HIV/AIDS has warned of another looming anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs shortage if the government does not take urgent measures.

Network of People living with HIV/AIDS (Nephak) National Chairman Davis Njuguna said on Friday that emergency drugs purchased six months ago by the government would run out by Saturday.

He said if the stock-out occurred, about 100,000 people in need of the life saving drugs would suffer.

“So far no report has been brought to us to know if an alternative measure has been taken. As a network of people living with HIV/AIDS we are really concerned because we need a policy that will guarantee availability of drugs but not emergency purchases,” he said.

Mr Njuguna claimed that some people had stopped taking the ARV’s because they were not sure anymore of the availability.

“The emergency purchases are expensive and therefore a special measure should be taken to make sure that we have enough drugs so that even as we enhance our adherence we are sure that there will be drugs for the whole year and for the whole period one is alive,” he said.

He said the government put in Sh500, 000 for emergency purchase of ARV’s mid last year but the drugs were now expected to run out on Saturday. An estimated 300,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in Kenya require Anti-retroviral treatment, but the government has only put 25,000 of these on treatment.

United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) puts around 100,000 people on treatment while the rest are catered for by the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

However there has been a pending court case since last year over a disputed procurement tender for round seven of the Global fund between two firms.

Kenya qualified for round seven of the Fund after solving a controversy surrounding Sh8.6 billion lost in 2002 but cannot use the funds until the court makes a ruling on the matter.


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