MINISTRY of Health and Child Welfare (MOHCC) should consider decentralizing the third line regimen of Anti Retroviral Therapy (ART) to avoid increase on defaulter rate, an HIV/AIDS rights group said.
Currenlty, the third line drug collection services are being offered at Parirenyatwa in Harare and United Bulawayo Hospital (UBH).
Third line therapy, sometimes called salvage or rescue therapy, is a treatment regiments for people who have few or limited anti drug options. This includes people who have failed are least two previous anti HIV regiments or people with evidence of HIV resistance to at least one drug.
Zimbabwe HIV &AIDS Activists Union Community Trust (ZHAAUCT) deputy Secretary General Angeline Chiwetani said due to high transport costs and lockdown movements restrictions, the ministry should consider decentralizing the service to the provinces.
Transport costs and restrictions during lockdown have become a huge challenge hence more will default,” said Chiwetani.
She said the constituency of people living with HIV in some parts of the country were negatively affected by the lockdown period.
“Some were being denied access to travel to clinics to collect their medicines and some ended up defaulting. Some ended up borrowing from other colleagues through the network platform,” she said.
Chiwetani said those who could not do so because of disclosure reasons ended up defaulting which may lead to resistance.
“The most affected group were our key affected population that included youths and adolescents, “she said.
As a union, Chiwetani said, they were appealing to Ministry of Health and Child Care to continuously appraise security forces manning road blocks to respect people on ART by giving them passage to access their medicines in clinics and hospitals.
“ARVs are different from panadols which one can take once and don’t take the next day.ARVs are taken for life. We are given dates at our facilities to collect so whether there is a lockdown or not we respect our refilling dates,” she said.