President Kenyatta: Kenya will lead fight for low cost HIV medicine

September 28, 2015 9:30 am
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President Uhuru Kenyatta made the announcement when he chaired a high-level meeting on HIV and AIDS at the United Nations Headquarters/PSCU
President Uhuru Kenyatta made the announcement when he chaired a high-level meeting on HIV and AIDS at the United Nations Headquarters/PSCU
NEW YORK, United States, Sep 28 – Kenya will spearhead efforts to keep HIV medication affordable and will make it a big agenda at the upcoming World Trade Organisation Summit that will be held in Nairobi in December.

President Uhuru Kenyatta made the announcement when he chaired a high-level meeting on HIV and AIDS at the United Nations Headquarters.

He said governments must ensure HIV commodities, particularly anti-retroviral medication, must continue to be available at affordable prices.

“Since HIV treatment is for life, there is need to safeguard and extend HIV related trade and intellectual property flexibilities,” said the President in his speech amid applause from the participants including Presidents and other dignitaries.

The President said Africa was on its way to start production of ARVs following a resolution reached through an African Union plan to end HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

He called for increased financing to bring HIV and AIDS to an end and added that Kenya’s commitment to this goal was proven.

“Kenya, in recognizing the importance of the Global Fund as a financing mechanism contributed $2 million (more than Sh200 million) to the 2014 Global Fund replenishment. I urge partners to contribute generously and replenish the Global Fund,” said the President.

He said Kenya continues to prioritize and invest in preventive HIV vaccine development as a key element of the globally acknowledged prevention revolution roadmap.

“I urge my fellow leaders to make solid commitments for HIV,” said the President at the meeting which was also addressed by President Arthur Peter Mutharika and President of Mali, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

He said he was proud that Kenya has further allocated $26 million (more than Sh2.6 billion) for HIV related commodities in the current financial year, 2015/16.

President Kenyatta made the statement as he called for increased global efforts to make the world HIV free through collective action.

He said Kenya was and will continuing playing a lead role in prioritising efforts to keep the youth HIV free by increasing access to medication for those who are HIV positive and ensuring that no HIV positive child suffers stigma or discrimination.

President Kenyatta said tremendous success has been achieved in combating HIV and AIDS over the last decade but more needs to be done to eradicate the epidemic.

The President said a global commitment with targets, investments and action would result in averting 28 million new infections and 21 million AIDS related deaths within the next 15 years.

These successes would be realized not only in sub-Saharan Africa, but also in Eastern Europe, America and Asia, he added.

“We must spur resources now and front-load investments in prevention of HIV targeting affected locations and populations in order to bring our epidemics under control,” said the President when he addressed the meeting held at the United Nations Headquarters on Sunday afternoon.

President Kenyatta said global leaders must commit themselves to eliminate mother to child transmission of HIV because the science to achieve that goal is there.

At the conference, 11 year old Kenyan boy Elijah Lemayan got a standing ovation when he shared his passionate story as a survivor of HIV and the challenges young people who have HIV face.

UNAIDS Director, Michel Sidibe, said he invited Lemayan to the UN Headquarters after he met him in Nairobi with President Kenyatta and was moved by his story.

“I was moved to tears by his moving story and I told him he must come to New York and share his story with the whole world and not with Kenyans alone,” said Sidibe.

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