People living with HIV and AIDS in Kenya say they could die because of a shortage of anti-retroviral medicines after the government decided to impose taxes on the life-saving drugs.
Nationwide protests have taken place this week in major cities across Kenya demanding the government to release the drugs, which have been held in customs warehouses.
“We cannot keep quiet and watch this population languish just because they can’t get a medicine that is lying down somewhere,” said Boniface Ogutu Akach, a human rights activist leading dozens of protesters in the city of Kisumu.
Demonstrators wore t-shirts and carried posters with slogans such as “A sick nation is a dead nation”, “Killer government” and “Release ARVs.”
Erick Okioma, 57, is HIV positive, he’s also a widower and a father of four.
“ARV medicines for 1.5 million people in counties are running dangerously low,” insisted Okoma, “soon they may start dying in hundreds or thousands because we rely on that medication.”
Kenya receives ARVs as donations from around the world, including from organizations such as United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
This year Kenyan tax and revenue authorities began asking donors to pay tax on these donated drugs which they have since refused.
News Source: Republic World