Gvt Digs Into Health Levy To Rescue TB Drugs Crisis

THE Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) says has allocated an amount to the tune of US$500 000 from the airtime health levy fund to beef up Tuberculosis (TB) drugs supplies in the face of a prevailing TB drugs crisis.

By Michael Gwarisa

According to the MoHCC, the country is currently experiencing an inadequate availability of fixed dose combination (FDC) medicines for the intensive phase treatment of tuberculosis (first two months) and the US$500 000 would also buttress some relief supplies government received from MSF.

“The Ministry has received some bridging relief supplies from one of local partners MSFand this stock was quickly dispatched to health facilities on 16 August 2018.

“We expect significant deliveries of the commodity into the country before the end of August 2018. The Ministry has allocated an additional US$500 000 from the Health Levy towards building an additional buffer supply of anti-TB medicines. With these measures and successful deliveries our stocks will revert to the desired levels,” said the ministry in a statement.

According to ministry of health, the name of the FDC tablet is Rifampicin/Isoniazid/Pyrazinamide/ Ethambutol (FDC-RHZE).Medicines for the treatment of tuberculosis (TB) are available in several forms, single formulation (each medicine on its own) and fixed dose combination tablets (several medications in one tablet).

“Fixed dose combinations (FDC) make it easier for clients to take as they take a single tablet instead of many tablets (up to 4). All TB medicines are imported. The main reason for the low availability status of FDC-RHZE has been delays in delivery of the commodity from our regular international supplier, the Global Drug Facility (GDF).

Measures have been initiated by the GDF to fulfil our delayed order and a shipment is expected to arrive in the country on the 26th of August 2018 in partial fulfilment of that order.”

Meanwhile, as a means to mitigate against the impact of the constrained availability of FDC-RHZE and to ensure continuous access to treatment for patients the Directorate of Pharmacy Services (DPS) has coordinated actively the re-distribution of the FDC-RHZE from overstocked facilities and from facilities without any patients on treatment to facilities which are understocked and have patients on treatment.

“As an additional measure guidance has been provided to all health facilities to combine single dose formulation medicines to constitute the four Drug RHZE combination for the intensive phase of treatment which unfortunately means the patients will have an increased pill burden.”



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