Kenya: Many Children Miss Out On Life-Saving Drugs

(Page 3 of 3)

In a country where 35 percent of children suffer from malnutrition, "measuring the right dosage against the weight of the child can be daunting," Naliaka told IPS.

For children in boarding schools, the lack of disclosure hurts treatment effectiveness. "If the school nurse is unaware of the child's HIV status, they are unable to support them," says Naliaka.

Matu says that parents, especially mothers struggling to accept their own HIV-positive diagnosis, find it difficult to take their children for HIV testing and feel guilty of passing on the virus.

The government estimates that 1.1 million children have lost one or both parents to AIDS; Many live with their elderly, illiterate and poor grandparents.

Although the Ministry of Health plans to reach 40 percent of caregivers of orphans through local community health workers who will teach them HIV care and provide food parcels, this help is yet to reach Sabina and Melvis.

Despite his hard life, Melvis has a sunny disposition and is energetic. He hawks pan-fried nuts in Kibera after school while Sabina sells deep fried potatoes near her shanty: "This is how we survive."

*Not his real name. Family name omitted to protect privacy.

Ads by Google

Copyright © 2014 Inter Press Service. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media ( To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.