Adequate ARVs available, says Govt

Joyce Mukucha Herald Reporter

ZIMBABWE has enough anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs to cover a 12-month period, Government has said. In a statement, the Ministry of Health and Child Care said drug shortages that had plagued areas such as Manicaland were as a result of “delayed shipments”.

Patients, Government said, continue to receive free ARVs at their designated health facilities.

“As a ministry, we would like to reassure all the people, who are currently on ART (anti-retroviral therapy) that the nation has sufficient stocks of the medicines, which are available for free at our designated health facilities, and patients can get their requisite supplies,” reads the statement.

“The reported shortage in Manicaland was in the second quarter of 2017 of Atazanavir/Ritonavir 300g/100g supplies as a result of a delay in receipt of a planned shipment as well as increased consumption of the product beyond what was projected. However, adequate supplies were then received between May and June 2017 and since then health facilities have been receiving their adequate supplies according to their orders.”

Similarly, Government noted that another second-line ARV (Abacavir/lamivudine 600/300g) was briefly in short supply in June due to delayed shipment.

“During that period, patients were also supplied with less than three months’ supply of the product; supplies have since been received and there is currently more than 12 months’ supply in the country,” added the statement.

Through the recently launched guidelines for ARV therapy, Government recommended treatment for HIV infection for all people who test positive for the virus.

Experts say this has increased the number of people on treatment and, by extension, demand for ARVs. Official statistics show that as of June 2017, there were over a million people on anti-retroviral treatment.

Government also dismissed media reports alleging that waste collection vehicles were being used to distribute drugs.

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