Kenyan Health Minister Announces Plan To Provide Free Antiretroviral Drugs to 140,000 Individuals
Kenyan Health Minister Charity Ngilu on Thursday said that by 2005 the government would provide free antiretroviral drugs to 140,000 HIV-positive individuals, the East African Standard reports. She also said that the government has adopted the World Health Organization's 3 by 5 Initiative to combat HIV/AIDS (East African Standard, 2/13). WHO's $5.5 billion plan, which aims to treat three million HIV-positive people by 2005, calls for training 100,000 health care workers, refocusing 10,000 clinics in developing countries to treat HIV/AIDS and using some common antiretroviral drug combinations. However, the plan does not provide the drugs or subsidize their cost (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 1/21). Ngilu said that the drugs will be available in public hospitals in "the near future," according to the East African Standard. Ngilu's remarks were made at the opening of a new comprehensive care center at the Rift Valley Provincial General Hospital in Nakuru, Kenya, which was funded by the Japanese government, USAID, Family Health International and the Pamoja Group, the East African Standard reports. The Japanese ambassador to Kenya on Wednesday announced that his government has pledged $100 million in 2004 for the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (East African Standard, 2/13).
"The World" -- a coproduction of BBC World Service, PRI and WGBH Boston -- on Friday interviewed Gatonye Gathura, a correspondent for Kenya's Nation newspaper, about physicians in the country profiting from selling antiretroviral drugs on the black market to HIV/AIDS patients (Mullins, "The World," PRI, 2/13). The complete segment is available online in Windows Media.