ARV’s Shortage Hits Lusaka

Some health centres in Lusaka have run out of Anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs. The clinics includes Matero, Chawama, Kamwala , and Chingwere clinics among others.

This has forced some patients to be changing the combination or types of the drugs. Ministry of Health spokesperson Reuben Kamoto Mbewe confirmed that some clinics had run low on Truvada and Neviripine while some had completely run out of the drugs.

“Most ARVs are available in health facilities except for Truvada+Naviripine that have run low in some health centres whilst we have stock-outs in three clinics in Lusaka. The three clinics that have run-out of this drug are Matero, Ngwerere and Chawama,” Dr Mbewe said in a statement in Lusaka on Friday July 25.”

He said urgent arrangements had been made to distribute drugs to the three clinics from the district pharmacy stores at Kalingalinga.

He said his ministry was expected to receive 91,500 bottles of Truvada in three weeks time and another 400,000 bottles in September this year with the last consignment of 300,000 bottles of the same drugs in October.

He assured patients not to panic as the supply of Truvada was available in sufficient quantities until the ministry received the next consignment in three weeks’ time and further assured those not on Truvada that other ARVs were available.

Dr Mbewe said his ministry had initiated the purchase of 600,000 bottles of Truvada as a stop-gap measure and these were expected to also arrive in the country in September this year.

He attributed the delay to the purchase of the said drugs to logistics in the procurement process and that the manufacturers had also other challenges in acquiring one of the raw materials (Tenofovir) which was vital in the manufacturing process.

He said the shortage of Tenofovir materials had also caused a serious shortage of Truvada on the world market.