AHF Commends the Resumption of HIV Treatment in Kenya – But More Is Needed

NAIROBI, Kenya–(BUSINESS WIRE)–AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) welcomes the decision reached by the US Embassy in Kenya and the National AIDS Control Council (NACC) to end the stalemate between the Kenya Ministry of Health and the US Agency for International Development (USAID). As a result, distribution of lifesaving HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment medications has resumed as of July 14, according to the US Embassy.

Civil society organisations, communities of people living with HIV and other stakeholders have been advocating for an end to the deadlock to ensure a continued flow of antiretroviral medicines and other essential HIV supplies.

“The uncertainty that was experienced by nearly a million adults and thousands of children who missed their most essential treatment for months was preventable and should never have been allowed to happen in the first place,” said Dr. Samuel Kinyanjui, Country Program Director for AHF Kenya. “The damage done to people’s lives and wellbeing—particularly children’s lives—is irreversible and must never be repeated.”

Despite encouraging negotiations between the Ministry of Health and USAID, the resolution of the impasse only directly addresses the consignment of medicines currently at the port of entry in Kenya. The newly reached agreement merely provides a temporary solution and does not substantively address any future stalemates or the broader issue of taxes being levied on medical products and technologies donated to Kenya for free distribution.

While AHF recognizes that the resumption of treatment will help alleviate the immediate danger to people living with HIV in Kenya, the government should promptly take the following actions to maintain progress toward fulfilling its commitments on ending AIDS and curbing new HIV infections:

  1. Ensure that normal operations are re-established at all HIV clinics across the country and that the Differentiated Service Delivery (DSD) model is restarted. DSD is well embraced by all stakeholders and has been proven to work very well.
  2. Find a permanent solution to address the taxation of donated medical products. This can be achieved by waiving taxes or implementing an exemption on all medical products received as donations.
  3. Improve communications among all relevant stakeholders by implementing consultation and feedback mechanisms. Insufficient communication with communities leads to mistrust and undermines the achievement of positive results.
  4. Strengthen the Health Commodities Security Technical Working Group by including representatives from communities of people living with HIV and civil society organizations.
  5. Ensure that HIV management is implemented holistically by taking into consideration prevention and diagnosis, care and treatment, and related essential commodities, including medications. This is urgently needed to address current shortages of paediatric HIV treatment, viral load testing reagents, and HIV test kits.

The COVID-19 pandemic has deeply affected all aspects of Kenya’s healthcare system with a particularly strong negative impact on communities of people living with HIV and those at risk of contracting HIV. Despite the challenging situation, by adopting the above-mentioned actions, the Kenyan government can preserve progress achieved through national AIDS control efforts to date, and it can ensure predictable access to HIV treatment and services for its citizens even in these difficult times.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to over 1.5 million clients in 45 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Europe. To learn more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org, find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcare and Instagram: @aidshealthcare

Contacts

KENYA MEDIA CONTACT:

Dr. Samuel Kinyanjui
Country Program Director
AHF Kenya

3rd Parklands Avenue, AHF Plaza

P.O. Box 103363-00101 Nairobi

Office Main: (254) 722 293 960

[email protected]


Faith Ndungu Mwenda
Program Development and Advocacy Manager
AHF Kenya

3rd Parklands Avenue, AHF Plaza

P.O. Box 103363-00101 Nairobi

Office Main : (254) 722 293 960

[email protected]

US MEDIA CONTACT:

Ged Kenslea,
Senior Director,

Communications, AHF

+1.323.791.5526 cell

[email protected]

Denys Nazarov
Director of Global Policy &

Communications, AHF

+1.323.308.1829

[email protected]

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