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International News

Kenyan Children Cited as Needing Greater Access to Antiretroviral Drugs

December 23, 2008

A new Human Rights Watch report says 40,000 Kenyan children with HIV could die in the next two years without antiretroviral treatment. According to HRW, Kenya provides free ARV treatment but only 20,000 children in need are receiving it.

HRW's Ben Rawlence said the country lacks a sufficient number of community health workers to help infected children gain access to ARVs. "It's primarily the Kenyan government: it's the primary care centers, it's the clinics, it's the district hospitals. And to the extent that they need assistance with that, they should be requesting that from donors," he said.

"The [World Health Organization] and donors are involved," said Rawlence. "They are providing partnership, but it's up to the Kenyan government to really take the lead and say what its citizens need."

Without treatment, half of Kenyan children born with HIV will die before their second birthday, the report said. The government must do more to remove barriers to children's treatment, it urged.

Rawlence said it is not an issue of cost: "It's just making sure that the Kenyan government is giving the relevant training, supplying [the ARVs], making them available to the children, making sure those children come to the clinics and they show up for their follow-up appointments so that somebody's actually looking after them," Rawlence said.

Back to other news for December 2008

Adapted from:
Voice of America
12.17.2008; Howard Lesser

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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