19 December 2008

Lack of ARVs a risk to 10,000 children

By ODHIAMBO ORLALE Posted Thursday, December 18 2008 at 21:39

Up to 10,000 Kenyan children might die of HIV and Aids early due to lack of life-prolonging anti-retroviral drugs, the Government has admitted. The director of Medical Services, Dr Francis Kimani, however, denied media reports quoting Human Rights Watch that 40,000 children would be affected. Dr Kimani blamed the problem on lack of fixed drug combination of paediatric ARVs, making children use separate drugs in contrast to adults who have access to combined tablets; and the fact that only 80 per cent of women attending antenatal clinic accept HIV testing and had access to mother-to-child transmission of HIV services. “Only 42 per cent of these mothers deliver in health institutions, which denies them an opportunity for interventions to prevent transmission,” said Dr Kimani. He maintained that 550,000 patients were receiving care for HIV at government and non-governmental facilities. Dr Kimani said that only 230,000 of them, including 40,000 children, were on ARV therapy.

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