BY JOAN WANJIKU,NAIROBI,10TH NOV,2021-The Ministry of Health has admitted there is a shortage of HIV commodities in the country.
In a statement, Health CS Mutahi Kagwe Wednesday clarified that although the supply of antiretroviral drugs and HIV testing kits had dwindled, the country had not run out of the essentials as claimed.
Kagwe said the ministry was doing everything possible to ensure a stable supply of all HIV commodities in the country by end of January 2022 including exploring alternative viral load and early infant testing platforms.
He explained a temporary global disruption in the commodity supply chain had affected the seamless distribution of ARVs and early infant diagnosis reagents.
As a result, those living with HIV have been receiving less than the 3-months’ supply of medications that they were initially receiving.
“The country is also facing disruption in the supply of Laboratory reagents due to a global disruption in the supply chain. The Ministry of Health has been closely monitoring the global supply chain of all HIV commodities to ensure there are no stock-outs while exploring alternative Viral load and Early infant testing platforms” he assured
The Cabinet Secretary led a ministerial leadership in a meeting with representatives of People Living with HIV to explore ways of resolving the stock out challenge being experienced in the country.
He said the government would expedite the procurement processes to have the commodities in the country in the next 3 to 4 weeks including exploring local manufacturing for sustainable supply in future.
“The Ministry of Health appreciates the long-standing partnership with the networks of people living with HIV and will continue to work with them and all other stakeholders to address gaps and challenges in the HIV response including the issues affecting the commodities supply chain. In this regard, we reassure the public that there are enough antiretroviral medications for all clients despite the reduced dispensation period to every client” said Kagwe.
Kenya has made significant progress in the HIV response. Out of the estimated 1.5 million People Living with HIV, 1.2 million are currently on long-term life-saving antiretroviral drugs (ARVs).