Breastfeeding infants living with HIV to wait longer for Nevirapine

Friday, April 23rd, 2021 00:00 |
Kemsa staff load ARVs and HIV-related commodities on trucks at Nairobi stores, yesterday. Photo/PD/Bernard Malonza

George Kebaso @Morarak

Thousands of breastfeeding infants living with HIV will have to wait a little longer for the Nevirapine (NVP) syrup to be delivered to health facilities.

Meanwhile, the infants will be forced to continue swallowing Antiretroviral (ARVs) drugs for adults as they wait for the two-dose regimen to arrive.

Yesterday, Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) anticipated that within five days, the paediatric ARVs will be airlifted to its warehouse in Embakasi, Nairobi for immediate distribution to counties.

“It is being airlifted and probably we should be having it within a week,” Geoffrey Mwagwi, Kemsa’s Customer Service Manager said at the institution’s Embakasi warehouse.

In many developing countries, a two-dose regimen of NVP around the time of birth is advocated as the most cost-effective way to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission.

The mother at the onset of labour takes one dose and the other one is given to the baby, between 48 and 72 hours after birth.

The goal is to achieve a 100 nanograms/millilitre concentration of the drug in the baby’s blood, from before birth and for a week afterwards, however, the precise level of the drug needed to prevent HIV transmission is unknown.

Mwagwi spoke yesterday while flagging off 29 types of ARVs in 24,800 packs valued at Sh1.2 billion said the country now has sufficient ARV stocks for the next three months. 

The consignment were distributed to 31 counties with high HIV prevalence. Douglas Onyancha, USAID’s Representative at Kemsa in-charge of distribution, said Homa Bay leads as the biggest consumer of the drugs.

He said the standoff between the government and USAid had been settled, and now counties will receive their stocks uninterrupted.

“That standoff has been resolved and that is why we are receiving the commodities.

The moment they are received we ensure we distribute them immediately,” he added.

More on News