Kenya pledges action on HIV/AIDS drugs stock-out amid supply disruptions

2021-11-10 14:55:27 GMT2021-11-10 22:55:27(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

NAIROBI, Nov. 10 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's Ministry of Health on Wednesday pledged a durable solution to HIV/Aids drugs' shortage that has been experienced this year amid global supply disruptions linked to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mutahi Kagwe, cabinet secretary in the Ministry of Health acknowledged that stock-out of antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) had placed temporary bottlenecks in the country's war against AIDS.

"The country recently experienced temporary disruption in the commodity supply chain that affected the hitherto seamless distribution of ARVs and early infant diagnosis reagents for people living with HIV," Kagwe said in a statement issued in Nairobi.

As a result, eligible people living with HIV have been receiving less than the three-month supply of medication that they were initially receiving," he added.

Kagwe disclosed that Kenya had also experienced disruption in the supply of laboratory reagents that has slowed down testing of the HIV virus among high-risk groups.

He said the government and partners had intensified monitoring of the global supply chain of all HIV commodities to ensure stock-outs were averted, adding that health facilities were being encouraged to explore alternative platforms for testing the virus.

According to Kagwe, some of the urgent interventions in the works to ease the HIV/AIDS drugs supply crunch include fast-tracking the procurement process to ensure the commodities are available in the next one month.

He said that promoting local manufacturing of life-saving drugs for people living with HIV/AIDS has been prioritized in order to stabilize supply in the pandemic era.

Kagwe said that a partnership with charities, donors and industry will be strengthened to ensure that drugs meant for suppressing the virus were available.

He said the government will allocate sufficient resources to ensure there is a stable supply of all HIV commodities in the country by January 2022.

Kagwe reiterated that Kenya was on course to achieve zero AIDS infections and deaths by 2030, citing robust funding toward public awareness, testing and management of the disease. Enditem