Kenya’s Mombasa sex workers and people living with HIV took to the streets demanding government to address the country’s anti-retroviral drug (ARV) shortage in hospitals.

The protests comes a day after Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe informed the Senate Health Committee that a diplomatic dissension that had caused the drug shortage had been resolved.

According to Marylynne Laini, the director of Nkoko Iju Africa- a sex workers organization, a significant number of commercial sex workers in the country are living with HIV and hence the need for the drugs to suppressed the virus to avoiding infecting other people’s husbands.

The commercial sex workers disclosed that business has increased as a result of the recent lockdown. They however said more people are at risk of becoming infected if the ARV issue is not resolved.

The Health CS stated that the USAID had proposed using a US-based company called Chemonics International to procure and supply ARVs to Kenyans due to “trust issues” with the national medical supplies body, Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA).

However government said it would not allow USAID to use Chemonics to supply ARVs because the government did not have enough information on the company, Digital Citizen reported.

The Health CS indicated that an agreement has been reached with USAID that will include, among other things, the strengthening of systems at KEMSA.

He also emphasized the need for the country to budget for its own ARVs rather than relying on donors.

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