On 14th December 2011, AIDS Law Project in collaboration with other civil society organizations marked the 10 year DOHA anniversary with a march. The CSO’s conducted peaceful march to deliver a memorandum to four key ministries including the Ministry of Trade, Ministry of Industrialization, Ministry of Public Health and Ministry of Medical services. The key message was to urge the Government to utilize all the flexibilities available in the TRIPs agreement to enhance access to generic medicines.
The advent of the WTO imposed 20-year patent monopolies on medications in developing countries, decreasing access to life-saving treatment at the same time HIV was exploding across Africa. However, several safeguards were negotiated by developing countries to allow nations to break monopolies on medicines to meet pressing public health needs in the WTO’s TRIPS agreement.
November 2011 marked the 10th anniversary of the landmark “Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health”, where all WTO member countries agreed and committed that public health takes priority over pharmaceutical company profits and patent rights. The Doha Declaration protects the rights of low- and middle-income countries to provide medications to address public health needs such as HIV, TB and malaria.
AIDS Law Project in collaboration with other civil society organizations working on health and human made the following demands to government:
- THAT Kenya incorporates fully in its laws, polices and trade agreements all the flexibilities under the TRIPS Agreement as confirmed by the Doha Declaration.
- That Kenya review, and reform or repeal as needed all laws, policies or trade agreements that reverse or threaten the gains made under Doha Declaration.
- THAT Kenya utilizes its rights under the TRIPS agreement to rapidly increase access to affordable generic medicines so that all Kenyan’s have access to medicine.
- That Kenya supports other least developed countries in Africa, such as Uganda, to apply for an extension to Doha Declaration, allowing them to continue manufacturing generic medicine past 2016.
- Kenya should invest in medical research and development to make sure that people in Kenya have the best possible access to health and medicine in the future.
ALP and other CSO’s will be following up with the respective ministries to ensure that the demands are being acted upon.