Zim Hit by TB Drug Shortages

Ministry of Health and Child Care has raised alarm over the shortage of drugs for the cure of tuberculosis due to delays in the delivery of the commodity from international suppliers.

In a statement released today, the ministry said the country was experiencing an inadequate availability of fixed dose combination medicine for the intensive phase treatment of tuberculosis (first two months).

“The country is currently experiencing an inadequate availability of fixed dose combination (FDC) medicines for the intensive phase treatment of tuberculosis (first two months). The name of the FDC tablet is Rifampicin/Isoniazid/Pyrazinamide/ Ethambutol (FDC-RHZE),” read the statement.

“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),” further read the statement.

The ministry however allayed fears of a crisis saying the supplier Global Drug Facility has made a commitment to fulfill the delayed order with the shipment expected in the country on the 26th of August.

Government further reported that they were in process of redistribution drugs from overstocked facilities to those understocked as a mitigatory measure.

“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 4 Drug RHZE combination for the intensive phase of treatment which unfortunately means the patients will have an increased pill burden,” read the statement.

The Ministry said they had allocated an additional US$500 000 from the Health Levy towards building an additional buffer supply of anti-TB medicines.

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