- Kenyan Medical Services has rejected media reports quoting Human Rights Watch that over 40, 000 children are in need of life prolonging medication and that their denial could make them die before their second birthday. The government has however admitted to having 10, 000 children who might be at such risk.
Earlier this week, Human Right Watch released a report that said children are least covered in the country's roll out programmes although Antiretroviral drugs are free in Kenya.
Medical Services Director, Francis Kimani, blamed the current crisis on lack of fixed drug combination of paediatric ARVs, which makes children use separate drugs in contrast to adults who have access to combined tablets.
"We cannot neglect children, its our obligation to save lives. They also have a right to medical treatment, which is a fact that we cannot hide away from," Dr Kimani said.
He also stated that only 80 per cent of women attending antenatal clinic accept HIV testing and had access to mother-to-child transmission of HIV services, further elaborating that only 42 percent of the mothers deliver in health institutions, which denies them an opportunity for interventions to prevent the transmission.
Dr Kimani said more than 200,000 adults including 30, 000 children are currently accessing ARVs in more than 350 facilities. He also said the Kenyan government has recently put in place a national network for free testing of children at 600 health institutions.
Human Rights Watch report said at least 60,000 children in Kenya are said to be in need of anti-retroviral treatment, but said only a third of the children are getting treatment, compared to about 54 percent of the estimated 392,000 adults in need of treatment.
The report said many local health facilities do not ensure that children have access to HIV tests and rarely offer antiretroviral treatment for children. "Medical staff are often not trained to deal with HIV in children, and there are too few community health workers to help children gain access to testing and treatment," the report had stated.
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