Kenyans living with HIV/AIDS turned up to demonstrate at the Ministry of Health offices demanding the release of ARVs that they have gone without for more than a year now.
Kenyans living with HIV/AIDS turned up to demonstrate at the Ministry of Health offices demanding the release of ARVs that they have gone without for more than a year now. Kenya has been facing an acute shortage of ARVs following a push-and-pull between the government and USAID.
The patients have begun to pile pressure on the government with protests. The government through the Ministry has remained mute. At one point, MOH released poisonous drugs to be distributed to the patients leading to another public outcry.
Protesters wore t-shirts and carried posters with slogans like “A sick nation is a dead nation”, “Killer government” and “Release ARVs.” They are demanding that the government releases the drugs, which have been held in customs warehouses.
This year, Kenyan tax and revenue officials began asking donors to pay tax on these donated drugs which they have since refused.
“136,000 people live with HIV and AIDS in Kisumu, that is about 13% of our population, we cannot keep quiet and watch this population anguish just because they can’t get a medicine that is lying down somewhere and that is happening because the government wants to tax a donation”, said human rights activist, Boniface Ogutu Akach.
Erick Okioma is 57- year-old HIV-positive man. The widower and a father of four, says he’s almost running out of supplies for his ARVs.