Govt allays ARVs shortage fears

Abigail Mawonde Herald Correspondent
GOVERNMENT yesterday assured people on antiretroviral therapy that there are sufficient supplies of the treatment in the country.

Over one million people are on ARVs in the country.

In a statement, the Ministry of Health and Child Care dismissed reports suggesting a shortage.

“There have been recent media reports alluding to clients on antiretroviral therapy being put at high risk arising from a situation ascribed to expiration and therefore shortage of medicines. At the outset the Ministry of Health and Child Care would like to inform the members of the public particularly those on anti-retroviral treatment that there are sufficient supplies of anti-retrovirals in the country,” said the ministry

It added: “Our slightly over 1 million clients on antiretroviral medicines are on different drug regimens or combinations, the most common of which is the combination of Tenofovir/Lamivudine/Efavirenz or in short TLE. Currently, there are 952 281 patients that are on a one-tablet-a day combination of Tenofovir/lamivudine/efavirenz (TLE), which is our first line treatment option of choice. The quantities of TLE currently in country are sufficient to last for 7,4 months and shipments will be received soon to keep the desired minimum stock levels.”

The ministry said there was also a group of 33 895 clients (representing 3 percent of clients on treatment) who are on a treatment regimen consisting of a combination of Tenofovir/Lamivudine plus a single tablet Nevirapine or in short TL+N. TL is also combined with other single tablet combinations for some people.

“In December 2017, TL with a 30th of April 2018 expiration date was delivered to some institutions through the National and Regional NatPharm warehouses together with some TL with expiration dates of May, June and July of 2018.

“These batches are part of a consignment received in August 2016. Some institutions received more of the 30th April expiring stock than others did. For these institutions supplies of the May/June/July expiring stock was made on Friday 27th April 2018

“This supply was, however, slightly late for some clients who were coming for their replenishments in the 3rd and 4th week of April, regrettably creating panic among these clients with regards to assured availability of the commodity for their continued use,” reads the statement.

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