Kenyan Government to Lobby United States for Antiretroviral Drug Funding
April 7, 2004
The Kenyan government plans to continue to lobby the U.S. government to try to gain additional money for its donor-funded antiretroviral drug distribution program, the Financial Times reports (Degli Innocenti, Financial Times, 4/6). Kenyan Health Minister Charity Ngilu in February said that the government hopes to provide free antiretroviral drugs to 140,000 HIV-positive individuals by 2005. She also said that the government has adopted the World Health Organization's 3 by 5 Initiative to combat HIV/AIDS. The initiative, 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 and using some common antiretroviral drug combinations to treat HIV/AIDS. However, the plan does not provide the drugs or subsidize their cost (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 2/17). The United States has "frozen" funding for the Kenyan program because Kenya plans to distribute generic, fixed-dose combination drugs, according to the Times. The United States requires that countries receiving funding for antiretroviral treatment use brand-name drugs, which are three times as expensive, the Times reports (Financial Times, 4/6). Officials from HHS, WHO, UNAIDS and the Southern African Development Community at a two-day meeting in Gaborone, Botswana, last week discussed an agreement over standards for generic antiretroviral drugs for use in developing countries (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/1). "We will keep lobbying [the United States]," Dr. Mary Wangai, antiretroviral program manager for NASCOP, Kenya's national AIDS program, said, adding, "We are making a huge effort to set up the sites, inform patients and train health workers. I am optimistic the rollout will work because the community will cooperate."
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Donor Nations, Including United States, Agree to Streamline Efforts to Fight HIV/AIDS in Developing Countries
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