Ministry of Health and Child Care has quashed media reports that the country has run out of antiretroviral drugs saying those on treatment should not panic as there is still sufficient supplies.
In a statement released today, Ministry of health dismissed reports connoting a shortage saying the country has sufficient stocks to last for over seven months.
“There have been recent reports alluding to clients on anti-retroviral therapy being put at high risk arising from a situation ascribed to expiration and therefore shortage of medicines. At the outset the Ministry of the 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,
“Currently there are 952 281 patients that are on a one tablet a day combination of TLE which is our first line treatment option of choice, the quantities of TLE currently in the 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.
The ministry added that they have a group of 33 895 clients (representing 3% of clients on treatment) who are on treatment regimen consisting of a combination of Tenofovir/Lamivudine plus a single tablet Nevirapine, in short TL+N. TL is also combined with other single tablet combinations for some clients.
In December 2017, TL with the 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 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 replenishment in the 3rd and 4th week of April regrettably creating panic among these clients with regards to assured available of the commodity for their continued use,” the Ministry added.
The Ministry assured the public that the government is committed to sustainably provide safe and effective medicines to the population of Zimbabwe.
With the 27th April 2018 delivery and subsequent distribution the problem has since been rectified with the affected Provinces receiving commodities with a shelf life beyond April 30th.
“We note that while we are well progressed in switching our clients from Nevirapine based regimens to Efavirenz 400 based regimens a small proportion of our clients will still require the TL+N combination and we have made contingency plans to have adequate supplies for this group ,
“The next such consignment of 118 300 units to cover us for 5 months is expected in our warehouses during the month of May 2018,” explained the Ministry.