Warning to HIV+ mothers as Kenya drug supply dwindles

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Mercy Juma BBC News, Nairobi

Kenya is experiencing an acute shortage of antiretroviral drugs after USAID, which exports them, halted supply through the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) which it accuses of corruption and mismanagement.

Kemsa has long denied any wrongdoing.

Some 1.5 million Kenyans live with HIV/Aids, and public hospitals are now having to ration out dwindling supplies while approximately one billion doses of medication worth $900,000 (£650,000) are being held at the port of Mombasa.

Two important drugs – Nevirapine and Zidovudine syrup – are completely out of stock. One is used to suppress viral load and boost immunity, and the other drug is used to prevent mother-to-child transmission.

Health officials are raising the alarm that mother-to-child transmissions are on the rise. HIV-positive mothers are being advised not to breastfeed their children until they receive the necessary medication.