Children at risk over acute shortage of ARV drugs

By Shadrack Nyakoe

Kenya has been experiencing an acute shortage of Antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) since January 2021 forcing People living with HIV/AIDs PLWHAs to endure reduced doses .with children and unborn babies left to suffer the most.

The shortage was a result of a kshs 90milon tax stand off between Kenya government and a US importer contracted by USAID to import the ARVs.

The row which came after USAID who sponsors the commodities by passed KEMSA and imported the ARVs and HIV test kits worth ksh 1 billion through the private US company, Chemonics International leading to an accute shortage of the life saving commoditues in public health facilities across the country with Homabay an Mombasa being among top most hit counties as the life saving drugs continue lying at Mombasa Port , according to National AIDs Control Council (NACC)

At least 6, 806 babies with HIV in 2019, mainly because their mothers failed to take medication properly during pregnancies and after birth, according to NACC.

While almost 106, 807 kenyan children below 14 years are living with HIV but only 72, 980 are on treatment, says the report.

Ministry of Health report of 2019 also shows that 4333 children died of AIDs , being 11 percent of all HIV related deaths that year.

The lifesaving drugs consignments have been lying at Mombasa port since January 18, 2021after Kenya government imposed a Ksh 90milliion tax bill on it.

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