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Huge Relief To Kenyans On HIV and AIDS After Govt Decision On ARVs

Shadrack Olaka



Photo: Health CS Mutahi Kagwe during the past Covid-19 Briefing

A tax exemption on anti-retroviral drugs donated by the USAID, has been approved by the Treasury. The drugs arrived in Kenya on January 18, 2021.

This follows the action taken by the Kenyan Government that slapped the donor with a Ksh 90 million importation tax bill on the consignment that is valued at Ksh 2.1 billion.

Addressing the press, the Treasury CS Ukur Yatani stated that the approval is just after a request by the Health CS Mutahi Kagwe, who said that about 1.5 million Kenyans who are HIV positive, fully depend on the drugs for their immunity boost.

In the month of March this year, an acute shortage of ARV drugs hit the public hospitals, which left the People Living with HIV and Aids (PLWHA) exposed to much suffering hence being forced to work with reduced doses.

The scarcity of the drugs came barely months after the WHO signaled that nearly 70 countries were exposed to risk of running out of the medicine reason being the coronavirus pandemic that has interfered with the supplies.

The Mombasa County director of communication, Richard Chacha, said that the county had opted to rationing doses to avoid running out of the life-saving drugs.

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Those patients who were used to getting three months’ doses, were now getting monthly supplies.

The Health Ministry was accused by the Network for People Living with HIV in Nyanza of not admitting there was shortage and kept quiet as PLWHAs sufferred.

Mr. Erick Okioma the chairman, said that many victims were being served with a month’s or two-week’s dosage adding that many programmes for HIV and Aids in the region were funded by donors and it was getting reduced.

He also regretted that the medication for children are regularly changed, hence affecting their health.

That the drugs used to prevent mother-to-child transmission are in scarcity.

A shallow investigation in the Rift Valley hospitals revealed a short supply of Septrin and paediatric antiretroviral drugs.

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