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The Partnership between Roche and the Kenyan Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) for Fighting HIV/AIDS: How Does it Work and What Can it Achieve?

The UNAIDS statistics of 2018 show that there has been progress in the number of AIDS-related deaths in Kenya, with a 55% decline since 2010. Kenya is one of the five countries in eastern and southern Africa with more than 50% decrease in AIDS-related deaths in the period from 2010-2018. 1 The number of new infections has also decreased from 66,000 to 46,000 since 2010. People living with AIDS has been estimated at about 1,600,000 in 2018, up from 1,500,000 found in 2010 and in 2015.1  While some progress is on the right track, the number of new HIV infections still outpace the number of AIDS-related deaths in Kenya.2

KEMRI

How does this progress align with the 90-90-90 end goal set by UNAIDS?

 

To achieve the 90-90-90 end goal, 90% of people living with HIV should be able to know their HIV status, 90% of people who know their HIV status should have access to high-quality HIV treatment options and 90% of people should have attained viral suppression. In 2018, 89% of people of all ages in Kenya knew their HIV status and 77% were on treatment; 1 (no data available for the viral load suppression target). While this surely is progress, efforts to halt and reverse HIV need to proceed at a faster pace. Early diagnosis and easy access to HIV load testing and monitoring are key to this end. 

What does the partnership between Roche and KEMRI aim to achieve?

In 2018, Roche and KEMRI forged a partnership for working toward the UNAIDS 90-90-90 goal. As a result, Roche has installed its state-of-the-art diagnostic instrument for HIV viral load testing at KEMRI. It has also trained KEMRI technicians on the operation of this instrument. Most importantly, Roche provides sustainable pricing for HIV reagents through the company’s Global Access Program and its access pricing.

KRMRI views the new technology provided by Roche as an essential requirement in not only monitoring responses of patients to treatment but also in reducing the traditional waiting time for sample analysis. The partnership is believed to expedite the Institute’s mission of improving human health and quality of life through research, capacity building, innovation and service delivery and also for achieving Universal Health Coverage in Kenya.

The partnership aligns well with Roche’s mission of supporting the UNAIDS 90:90:90 goal through affordable pricing to those countries hardest hit by the disease.

The latest statistics from Kenya is promising and this partnership is sure to help in progressing toward achieving the UNAIDS goal. 

KEMRI-Roche

References

1.       Global HIV &AIDS statists – 2019 fact sheet. Calculated from: https://www.unaids.org/en/resources/fact-sheet

2.       Kenya Ministry of Health Report 2018. Kenya HIV Estimates. Accessed Jan, 2020.  https://nacc.or.ke/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/HIV-estimates-report-Kenya-20182.pdf