Kagwe denies ARV shortage as drugs still stuck at port

Friday, April 30th, 2021 00:00 |
Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe being shown samples of syringes when he visited the Revital Health Care factory in Kilifi county, yesterday. Factory manufactures health care items, including syringes and surgical masks. Photo/PD/NICHOLAS NTHENG

Reuben Mwambingu @reubenmwambingu

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe has dismissed reports that the country is experiencing a shortage of Antiretrovirals (ARVs).

Speaking in Kilifi County yesterday, Kagwe acknowledged that a consignment of ARVs is still at the Port of Mombasa, but denied reports that the situation has triggered a shortage of the vital drugs.

According to Kagwe, the country has “sufficient ARVs” and currently the government is working on modalities to have the drugs stuck at the port released.

“The most important thing is to ensure the ARVs are actually with the people being used.

And as I said, we do not have a shortage but  there are ARVs at the Port of Mombasa,” Kagwe said.

Tax claim

“We have reached a consensus on this matter with the donor, US Agency for International Development (USAid), and therefore, shortly we will be releasing the ARVs,” he added. 

 Drugs worth Sh2.1 billion remain stuck at the Mombasa Port over a tax dispute between Kenya and USAid.

Life-saving drugs arrived in the country on January 18, but are yet to be cleared for entry as the Kenya Revenue Authority and USAid have failed to agree on who should pay the taxes – or whether there should be any tax claim in the first place.

Government handed a Sh90 million-tax bill to the American firm Chemonics, which had imported the drugs on behalf of USAid.

At the same time, giving his daily briefings on the Covid-19 status, the CS hailed the current positivity range averaging to 10 per cent, saying if the trajectory maintains, it can allow the country’s economy to reopen.

Yesterday’s positivity stood at 10.0 per cent after 495 new infections were recorded in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 158,821.

“Today we are at 10 per cent while yesterday  recorded 9 per cent positivity rate… so you can see we are averaging around there which is a good sign. If we continue with this average, we can maybe begin thinking of reopening the economy,” Kagwe said.

According to the CS, healthcare providers have conducted 1,664,435 Covid-19 tests since the  first case was reported in the country last year.

In terms of distribution; Nairobi recorded 92 cases, Mombasa (50), Kericho (42), Embu (36), Uasin Gishu (22), Kisii (20), Bungoma 1(8), Kisumu and Nakuru 17 each, Nyeri (16), Busia (15), Kilifi (13), Garissa (12), Siaya (11), Kitui, Meru and Murang’a 10 cases each, Kirinyaga and Trans Nzoia nine cases each, Nandi and Kiambu seven cases each, Makueni and Nyandarua six cases each, Bomet (five), Kajiado, Nyamira and Taita Taveta four cases each, Laikipia, Turkana, Machakos and Migori three  cases each, Elgeyo Marakwet, Samburu and Homa Bay two cases each, Kakamega, Kwale, Narok, Vihiga and West Pokot one case each.

Overall number of recoveries has risen to 108,124, with 242 patients recovering in the last 24 hours. At the same time, 19 deaths have been recorded in the last 24 hours.

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