“It is in our hands to set the stage for paediatric Dolutegravir!”

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An inspiring interview with Kenyan HIV activist Jacque Wambui about the approval and rollout of paediatric Dolutegravir by Sabrina Erné.

“When paediatric Dolutegravir first became available on the market, my first thought was that caregivers can sleep better without reliving the nightmare of having to give daily medication to their babies with difficulty.”

Why is paediatric Dolutegravir formulation a game-changer in your view?

Paediatric Dolutegravir has only been available for adults, adolescents, and children who weigh at least 20 kg because products did not exist yet for the youngest children. In my view the new formulation has many more benefits than other ARVs: rapid viral load suppression, much lower risk of developing drug resistance, few side effects, few drug interactions, and it is easier to administer.

Can you please explain the role you play in the rollout of paediatric Dolutegravir?

In Kenya, I have been involved in the process of sensitizing caregivers and young mothers on paediatric Dolutegravir to create demand and giving advice to our Ministry of Health on the adaptations and the training on the materials for both healthcare workers and communities of people living with HIV.

Furthermore, AfroCAB Treatment Access Partnership with technical support from CHAI, developed a set of adaptable resources to support communities accelerate access to paediatric Dolutegravir. These materials with the efforts of our Community Advisory Board members across Africa are being absorbed by Ministries of Health.

What practical advice can you share, to make sure paediatric Dolutegravir reaches the children in the communities?

First of all, use and share the information on this groundbreaking drug for our babies everywhere using the paediatric Dolutegravir materials. You can find our multi-media package of treatment literacy and advocacy resources for civil society organizations, community representatives, and national networks of PLHIV to expand access to information on paediatric Dolutegravir and support demand generation. The materials can be found at https://www.newhivdrugs.org

Secondly, community-based organisations should check roll out plans with their Ministry of Health and communities of people living with HIV. At the same time, they should ensure demand creation for paediatric Dolutegravir, meaningful engagement of the community members in the paediatric Dolutegravir roll out and community-led monitoring on the uptake of the medicine.

As an activist for paediatric HIV what makes you get up in the morning?

I wake up each and every morning with the hope that at least one baby born with HIV, through an empowered caregiver, will have access to optimal HIV treatment that is easy to administer and is safe. 

Our babies deserve a healthy future and it is in our hands to set the stage!


About Jacque Wambui

Jacque works for AfroCAB Treatment Access Partnership, advocating for better paediatric HIV treatment options as the Global CAB Facilitator. She also co-leads the FASTER Pediatric and Adolescent Community Advisory Board. Jacque has more than 10 years of experience actively working in programs focused on HIV and sexual and reproductive health and rights in Kenya. Her work experience has seen her take the lead in various advocacy campaigns that affect people living with HIV in Kenya, regionally and globally.

Jacque is the winner of the AIDS 2020 Women, Girls and HIV Investigator’s Prize. She has been living with HIV for 16 years.