More than half of Kenya's 102,000 children with HIV lack access to anti-retroviral drugs, a key setback in the fight against AIDS, the country's top physician said Monday.
Of the total figure, only 13,000 have access to life-prolonging drugs while more than 60,000 are in dire need of them, said Director of Medical Services James Nyikal while launching a Clinton Foundation-supported programme to put an additional 10,000 children under ARV therapy by year-end.
"Although Kenya has made significant progress in increasing access to care and treatment for adults, children have remained underserved despite the burden of HIV among this population," Nyikal said.
In August, the government announced that the AIDS prevalence rate had dropped to 5.1 percent last year from 5.9 percent in 2005 due to the ARV therapy for adults.
Since 1984 at least 1.5 million people have died from AIDS in Kenya, according to official estimates.
Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for almost two-thirds of all people infected with HIV and 72 percent of global AIDS deaths, according to UNAIDS.
As of June last year, around one million Africans were receiving anti-retroviral drugs. This was still less than a quarter of the estimated 4.6 million people in need of the drugs on the continent.