KENYA: Government hospitals still not providing HIV/AIDS drugs

KENYA: KENYA: Government hospitals still not providing HIV/AIDS drugs

JOHANNESBURG, 10 Jan 2003 (PLUSNEWS) - The international medical NGO Medicins Sans Frontiers (MSF) on Friday said just one of Kenya's provincial hospitals was dispensing antiretrovirals (ARVs) to people living with HIV/AIDS (PWAs).

This was despite government funding allocated to five major hospitals last year to kick-start the national distribution of HIV/AIDS drugs.

"There is only one provincial hospital in western Kenya that provides ARVs to people infected with HIV/AIDS and the funding for these drugs is covered completely by MSF," MSF spokesman, Wyger Wentholt, told the UN news service Plusnews.

Wentholt's comment follows a claim by management of a government hospital on Thursday that HIV/AIDS drugs could not be dispensed because of the lack of sufficient funds and a modern laboratory.

Executive director of the Kenya AIDS NGOs Consortium (KANCO) Allen Ragi said the government had allocated about US $4 million to five major provincial hospitals throughout Kenya for treatment programmes which should have started last year.

"There is no real government treatment policy in place and HIV/AIDS drugs are presently only being dispensed at mission and private hospitals," Wentholt told Plusnews.

Wentholt said MSF hopes with the newly elected government that "more clarity" will be given to policies regarding HIV/AIDS drugs and treatment.


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