Kenya To Provide Antiretrovirals at No Cost, Kenyan President Says
Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki on Thursday in a speech announced that antiretroviral drugs will be provided at no cost in government hospitals and health centers in the country, Reuters Health reports (Reuters Health, 6/1). Kibaki said that the current $1.54 fee per dose -- which activists say is one reason why only 60,000 of the 200,000 Kenyans eligible are taking antiretroviral drugs -- will be waived "with immediate effect" (BBC News, 6/2). According to Mwihaki Kimura Muraguri, the African Medical and Research Foundation's program manager for HIV/AIDS, AMREF has been educating Kenyans about how to administer antiretroviral drugs correctly and the importance of proper nutrition and treatment monitoring. Providing antiretroviral drugs at no cost is "a critical step," Muraguri said, adding, "We look forward to seeing reduced costs for treatment support such as lab tests, whose costs are still prohibitive." (Reuters Health, 6/1). According to BBC News, "[s]tockpiles" of antiretroviral drugs are "languishing" in Kenyan warehouses because of a shortage of trained health care workers, a lack of HIV testing facilities and a lack of understanding about the effectiveness of the drugs (BBC News, 6/2).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.