• The ARVs were among a consignment valued at more than Sh200 million that was flagged off by the Kemsa Acting CEO John Kabuchi on Tuesday
• Some of the counties set to benefit from the supplies include Turkana, Nakuru, Kwale, Kisii, West Pokot and Marsabit
The government has dispatched antiretroviral therapy drugs to 37 counties in an effort to increase access in the country.
The ARVs were among a consignment valued at more than Sh200 million that was flagged off by the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority Acting CEO John Kabuchi on Tuesday.
Some of the counties set to benefit from the supplies include Turkana, Nakuru, Kwale, Kisii, West Pokot and Marsabit.
Other items supplied include sunscreen creams recommended for use by persons living with albinism and other dermatological conditions, anaesthetics, palliative care medicines, vitamins and disinfectants among others.
“The authority is working flat out to ensure that essential medicines are delivered on time in all the counties as their orders are received,” Kabuchi said.
“Security of health products and technologies will require an effective and efficient public health supply chain that can deliver quality HTPs reliably and cost-effectively,” he added.
Currently, KEMSA serves more than 11,500 health facilities with the National supply chain centre in Embakasi complemented by an additional devolved network of 11 warehouses; four in Nairobi and seven spread across the towns of Eldoret, Kisumu, Meru, Mombasa, Nakuru and Nyeri.
Kemsa has been mandated with procurement, warehousing and distribution of drugs and medical supplies for prescribed public health programs, the national strategic stock reserve, prescribed essential health packages and national referral hospitals.
The dispatch of ARVs comes as a relief after persistent shortages that have been experienced in the country in the recent past mostly attributed to a stand-off between the government and PEPFAR last year.
Early this month, the United States proposed a massive cut to its annual funding for Kenya’s HIV programmes.
The US President's Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (Pepfar) complained Kenya has become one of its biggest beneficiaries since 2003 but is doing too little to increase domestic funding to fight HIV.
This year, Pepfar said it will cut its funding to Kenya by Sh2.27 billion.
Pepfar proposes to give Kenya $345 million (Sh39.17 billion), compared to $365 million (Sh41.44 billion) in 2021.
Acting Pepfar boss Dr Angeli Achrekar said Kenya must take up more responsibilities such as viral load tests for children.
“Now that Pepfar Kenya’s focus is shifting to sustaining its HIV impact, the co-financing commitments and follow-through need to be a priority," Achrekar said.
Angeli said they will also no longer pay taxes, such as the Sh100 million tax on ARVs and other HIV commodities that was demanded by the Kenya Revenue Authority last year.
KRA demand came after Pepfar bypassed the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority and exported ARVs to Kenya through a private US company, called Chemonics, which also wants to take over drugs distribution in Kenya.
Pepfar contributes over 50 per cent of total HIV/Aids funds in Kenya every year.