Kenya on path to eliminate HIV as public health threat by 2027

The United States and Kenyan governments have partnered to develop a sustainability roadmap to integrate HIV service delivery into Kenya’s public health care system, ensuring quality and impact are maintained.

Presidents William Ruto and Joe Biden have acknowledged Kenya’s progress in combating the HIV epidemic noting that with over $7 billion (Kes930 billion) from the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) over the past two decades, Nairobi has effectively responded to the HIV crisis and aims to eliminate the disease as a public health threat by 2027.

These efforts have improved comprehensive health services for 1.3 million Kenyans currently on antiretroviral therapy and millions more benefiting from HIV prevention programs. This approach allows for increased domestic funding for HIV response, enabling a gradual reduction in PEPFAR support, a statement from the White House said in part.

As part of marking 60 years of US-Kenya partnerships, a formal agreement was announced between the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Kenya to share information, identify best practices, and outline steps for developing and fully launching the Kenyan National Public Health Institute in order to strengthen Kenya’s ability to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease threats, crucial given Kenya’s role as a gateway to East Africa through the Port Mombasa.

Read also: Stop the greed on HIV drugs, US firm told

Local manufacturing of medical products

During President William Ruto’s State Visit to Washington, Kenya also committed to advancing the Kenyan Pharmacy and Poisons Board Act, which is seen as essential for boosting local manufacturing of medical products and expanding private American investment in the sector.

To support these goals, USAID has provided $2.3 million (Kes305.7 million) to Revital Healthcare for the development of rapid diagnostic tests for HIV, malaria, hepatitis B and C, dengue, and pregnancy, and to build a manufacturing plant capable of producing 240 million tests per year.

Additionally, President Biden emphasized the importance of securing and diversifying global supply chains by promoting local and regional manufacturing of health products.

The implementation of the PPB Act is expected to increase manufacturing capacity in Kenya and Africa, ensuring the availability of life-saving medicines, diagnostic tests, and devices, thereby mitigating the impact of global supply chain disruptions, as highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic.

USAID and the Ministry of Health are also partnering to equip all neonatal clinics with Revital-made continuous positive airway pressure machines for babies requiring respiratory support.

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