HEALTH and Child Care minister David Parirenyatwa has dispelled fears of a shortage of second line anti-retroviral (ARVs) drugs, saying the country has enough stocks to last the next 10 months.
Speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony of a new NatPharm warehouse in Masvingo on Friday, Parirenyatwa said the artificial shortages could have been caused by unequal distribution of the drugs to various centres for the 1,1 million people on anti-retroviral drugs.
“We hear that we have shortages here and there, but the country, as we speak now is not short of ARVs, it’s now in distribution systems, we have enough ARVs for the next 10 months,” he said.
Parirenyatwa’s remarks were in response to reports that the country was facing ARV shortages, particularly Abacavir, a second line ARV drug with patients given a week’s supply instead of the traditional three months.
Parirenyatwa urged NatPharm to distribute drugs equitably to different institutions.
“There should not be a shortage of drugs that are already there,” he said.
“We don’t want a situation where drugs at NatPharm are just sitting there because of our own poor distribution.
When you are on anti-retroviral therapy, it means that this person must take those drugs daily and religiously, and when that person skips some days that is when they build up resistance, so it means that those ARVs must be supplied religiously and I am urging those, who are taking these drugs to take them religiously.”
Construction of the $3,5 million NatPharm warehouse is expected to be completed by April next year.