By Liam Morgan

Kiplagat has compared the recent doping scandal in sport in Kenya to that of AIDS ©Getty ImagesAthletics Kenya President Isaiah Kiplagat has suggested the recent doping crisis to sweep the nation is "as bad as AIDS", when highlighting measures taken to tackle recent problems in his country.

At least 38 Kenyan athletes have reportedly failed tests and Kiplagat has announced a range of different responses that will be brought in to help combat the issue, which is being described as an epidemic.

"This doping issue is just as bad as AIDS, this will be a serious elaborate exercise," he told Agence France-Presse.

"We will roll out an educative programme such as the one Kenya launched when HIV-AIDS was first detected.

"We plan to have our own doping control officers to nab the athletes locally."

The development follows President of the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) Kipchoge Keino's view that doping in sport should become a criminal offence.

A similar argument was suggested by Germany last year, but it was widely criticised by World Anti-Doping Agency President Sir Craig Reedie, who is against jail terms for implicated athletes.

The most notable recent doping scandal to hit Kenya involved three-time Boston Marathon winner Rita Jeptoo after she tested positive for banned substance Erythropoietin (EPO) back in September.

Sports authorities in the country have been widely accused of inaction on the controversial subject, but this is set to change and the new measures coincide with Jeptoo having to go in front of a Athletics Kenya Doping commission, with her case set to be heard on Thursday (January 15).

Jeptoo is arguably the most high-profile Kenyan athlete to have been found guilty of using banned substances ©Getty ImagesJeptoo is arguably the most high-profile Kenyan athlete to have been found guilty of using banned substances ©Getty Images

Under the new rules, athletes and agents who are found to have been involved in illicit doping could be banned for life, while elite athletes will also be issued with biological passports in order to test blood and urine samples on a monthly basis.

More doping tests, including ones to be conducted outside of competition, are set to be introduced, and managers, coaches and agents will now have to register with Athletics Kenya and provide a list of all the athletes they manage or coach.

"The reputation of our sportsmen and women has been tainted beyond any imagination," 1968 Olympic 1500 metres and 1972 3,000m steeplechase gold medallist Keino told The Daily Nation recently.

The news also follows an announcement in November that the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya is to be set-up.

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