Zimbabwe National Network for People living with HIV (ZNNP+) has allayed fears of a shortage of anti-retroviral drugs saying the current disruption in supplies was due to changes in drug supply.
There were fears that the country was facing an acute shortage of anti-retroviral drugs after the Ministry of Health and Child Care reduced supplies to recipients from the usual three months to one month. This, the ministry said in a statement, was done to manage delays in the disbursement of new stock.
ZNNP+ acting director Mrs Rumbidzai Muteve said none of their members failed to get their anti-retroviral drugs at any point.
“We have never experienced drug shortage as such, but our members in some districts were last month given a supply for one month instead of the usual three months’ supply,” she said.
She also said contrary to some social media reports, ART patients have never at any point been administered with expired drugs.
“The ministry of health does not disburse expired drugs. There are processes involved in handling and storage of drugs. In any case all medicines are controlled by the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe.”
Mrs Mutewe, however, urged people living with HIV to adhere to treatment and make use of community structures such as wards and district leadership to get clarity on any information that is posted on social media.
Meanwhile, ART patients in rural areas have raised concerns that the shift from three months to one month supply has constrained their budgets since they would be required to visit hospitals and clinics several times to get the monthly supplies instead of once every three months.
Over one million people are on different drug regiments of anti-retroviral medicines in the country.