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Kenya unveils better HIV/AIDS treatment

By George Okore

image

Kenya has become the first African country in Africa to offer a new first-line drug for people living with HIV, thus accelerating access to better antiretroviral (ARV) drugs

The debut of generic version of Dolutegravir (DTG) is a relief people living with HIV in Africa, where it’s needed most. Today’s launch also set the stage for large-scale introduction of new health products, thus access to better quality and more effective ARV therapy that will greatly improve quality of life of people living with HIV.

It will also usher introduction and uptake of adapted pediatric HIV drugs for children. Popular known as DTG, the drug has minimal side effects, is easier to take than currently used formulations (one small tablet taken daily), and patients are less likely to develop resistance. In 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended DTG as alternative first-line regimen for adults and adolescents.

The drug of choice, whose introduction is being supported by Unitaid, reinforces medical advances in recent years mean that ARVs have turned HIV from a death sentence into a manageable condition. With patients needing to be on lifelong treatment, the focus is now on ensuring that medication is as well-tolerated as possible.

“Until recently, people living with HIV in countries like Kenya were not able to access DTG. Through partnership with Unitaid, the drug is a relief to patients living with HIV, build healthcare worker experience, and generate the evidence needed to introduce DTG on a larger scale by early 2018,” said Dr Jackson Kioko from Kenya’s Ministry of Health.

The Kenyan government will initially provide DTG to 27,000 people living with HIV who are unable to tolerate side effects of efavirenz, the first-line HIV drug currently used in the country. DMG will be introduced in select health facilities across the country, and expected to be available countrywide at the end of the year.

Unitaid Executive Director Lelio Marmora says numerous phase 3 clinical trials have shown DTG to be superior to other first line treatments, and in 2016 Kenya included the drug into its ART treatment guidelines. “New regimens including DTG offer great potential for better and less costly HIV treatment. Through this catalytic work, we are significantly reducing the time it takes for people living with HIV in Africa to access the latest ARVs on the market. These are important developments as we move towards HIV treatment for all in need,” he says.

Speaking at the launch, Dr Gerald Macharia, African Vice President for Clinton Health Access Initiative said the drug would offer new strategies to prevent, diagnose and treat HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, tuberculosis and malaria more quickly, affordably and effectively. “ We praise Unitaid for pioneering introduction of simpler, more affordable optimal HIV regimens and ensuring they are available sooner for those in need, so countries and partners like PEPFAR and the Global Fund can bring them to scale, ” he said

Worldwide, over 18 million people are on life-long HIV treatment, and majority of these are access to treatment yet. In Kenya, approximately 1.5 million people are living with HIV, and just over one million are currently on ARVs.

Unitaid is investing US$ 67 million to address this pressing need in an effort to avoid delays of more than 10 years before new drugs can be introduced in low- and middle-income countries. This catalytic intervention also provides key opportunity to test DTG’s use in routine treatment for the first time and prepare national distribution channels.

Besides Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda will also be introducing DTG later this year as part of the project. This will accelerate uptake of the three-in-one fixed dose combination that would be made available by 2018. The fixed dose combination, which would include tenofovir, lamivudine and DTG, is expected to significantly simplify treatment for people living with HIV.

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Africa: Africa Needs to Act Now to Safeguard the Health of its Youth

Photo: Plan International

(file photo).

press release

Brazzaville — Partnerships and stronger collaboration are critical for better access to quality, affordable healthcare for everyone in Africa. This was a key message at the first Africa Health Forum launched by the World Health Organization in Africa and the Government of Rwanda in Kigali today.

In his opening remarks, His Excellency Anastase Murekezi said: “Being healthy is the basis for all socioeconomic development, and without it nothing will work. For this reason, African countries must work together, sharing experiences, which will translate the 2063 vision of health and wellbeing into reality. I call upon our African countries to set up strategies to help them implement the resolutions from this Forum”.

He urged the vibrant private sector in Africa to invest more in the health sector and appealed to other stakeholders to support Africa’s efforts ensuring that it is aligned with priorities.

With a rising young population, the urgent need for concrete actions to address the health of youth and adolescents will be central to the discussions at the two day forum.

Africa is the only region in the world where the population as a whole is getting younger. People under the age of 18 make up 50% of the population in 15 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. However, despite the vitality of youth, HIV has disproportionately affected African children and adolescents. During the 30 years of the global HIV epidemic, around 17 million children have lost one or both parents due to AIDS – 90% of these children live in sub-Saharan Africa.

In addition, the growth of non-communicable diseases (NCD) in Africa has seen a rise in NCD-related deaths of 27% over the last 10 years. If this growth continues, there will be an obvious knock-on effect on the health of young people in Africa.

“Africa has the advantage – as the world is getting older, our population is getting younger. There is so much potential to harness this vitality and energy to create health systems that suit all. But we need to act now to safeguard their health by creating youth-friendly health services and encouraging healthy lifestyles,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa in her opening address.

“We want our youth to not just be beneficiaries of services, but to be with us at the decision-making table as we partner across sectors for a more prosperous, sustainable future for everyone in Africa,” she added.

Dr Moeti emphasized working with the private sector, African philanthropists and Africa’s youth to tackle these challenges to get concrete results in improving the health of African people.

‘Putting People First: The Road to Universal Health Coverage in Africa’ is the overall theme of the forum. While Africa still has critical health issues, there have been some major improvements over the past decade and the impact of these will also be discussed at the event.

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Key successes in public health include:The region has made significant progress in malaria control. Malaria incidence and mortality rates declined by 42% and 66% respectively between 2000 and 2015;

Domestic government contributions from the WHO African region provided US$ 528 million to fund malaria control in 2015; For the first time, we have a malaria vaccine offering partial protection of children, who are especially vulnerable; The Region is on the verge of eradicating polio; The number of adults and children newly infected with HIV in the Africa has declined by 19% in the last five years, from 1.63 million to 1.37 million; HIV treatment scale-up is continuing, with an estimated 12.1 million people (43%
of those eligible) receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) by the end of 2015; The MDG era contributed to many of these successes. By the end of 2015, maternal mortality in the Region fell by 45% from the year 2000, and newborn deaths dropped by 38% during the same period.

For more information, please visit africahealthforum.afro.who.int

Africa needs to act now to safeguard the health of its youth

Brazzaville, 27 June 2017 – Partnerships and stronger collaboration are critical for better access to quality, affordable healthcare for everyone in Africa. This was a key message at the first Africa Health Forum launched by the World Health Organization in Africa and the Government of Rwanda in Kigali today.

In his opening remarks, His Excellency Anastase Murekezi said: “Being healthy is the basis for all socioeconomic development, and without it nothing will work. For this reason, African countries must work together, sharing experiences, which will translate the 2063 vision of health and wellbeing into reality. I call upon our African countries to set up strategies to help them implement the resolutions from this Forum”.

He urged the vibrant private sector in Africa to invest more in the health sector and appealed to other stakeholders to support Africa’s efforts ensuring that it is aligned with priorities.

With a rising young population, the urgent need for concrete actions to address the health of youth and adolescents will be central to the discussions at the two day forum.

Africa is the only region in the world where the population as a whole is getting younger. People under the age of 18 make up 50% of the population in 15 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. However, despite the vitality of youth, HIV has disproportionately affected African children and adolescents. During the 30 years of the global HIV epidemic, around 17 million children have lost one or both parents due to AIDS – 90% of these children live in sub-Saharan Africa.

In addition, the growth of non-communicable diseases (NCD) in Africa has seen a rise in NCD-related deaths of 27% over the last 10 years. If this growth continues, there will be an obvious knock-on effect on the health of young people in Africa.

“Africa has the advantage – as the world is getting older, our population is getting younger. There is so much potential to harness this vitality and energy to create health systems that suit all. But we need to act now to safeguard their health by creating youth-friendly health services and encouraging healthy lifestyles,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa in her opening address.

“We want our youth to not just be beneficiaries of services, but to be with us at the decision-making table as we partner across sectors for a more prosperous, sustainable future for everyone in Africa,” she added.

Dr Moeti emphasized working with the private sector, African philanthropists and Africa’s youth to tackle these challenges to get concrete results in improving the health of African people.

‘Putting People First: The Road to Universal Health Coverage in Africa’ is the overall theme of the forum. While Africa still has critical health issues, there have been some major improvements over the past decade and the impact of these will also be discussed at the event.

Key successes in public health include:

· The region has made significant progress in malaria control. Malaria incidence and mortality rates declined by 42% and 66% respectively between 2000 and 2015;

· Domestic government contributions from the WHO African region provided US$ 528 million to fund malaria control in 2015;

· For the first time, we have a malaria vaccine offering partial protection of children, who are especially vulnerable;

· The Region is on the verge of eradicating polio;

· The number of adults and children newly infected with HIV in the Africa has declined by 19% in the last five years, from 1.63 million to 1.37 million;

· HIV treatment scale-up is continuing, with an estimated 12.1 million people (43%
of those eligible) receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) by the end of 2015;

· The MDG era contributed to many of these successes. By the end of 2015, maternal mortality in the Region fell by 45% from the year 2000, and newborn deaths dropped by 38% during the same period.

For more information, please visit africahealthforum.afro.who.int

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Raila pledges sweeping changes in first 100 days at State House – The Standard

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I will be the people’s servant if elected, Raila tells Busia locals – The Star, Kenya

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Int’l Day against Drug Abuse today – The Nation

News GhanaInt'l Day against Drug Abuse todayThe NationIslamabad - International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking will be marked on Monday across the globe to raise awareness of the major problem that illicit drugs represent to society this day is supported by individuals, communities and ...Listen to Young PeopleThe Arunachal TimesNACOB undertakes health walkNews GhanaDrug abuse: Cops to spread awarenessNYOOOZInquirer.netall 8 news articles »

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