The shortage of the anti-retroviral drug, Abacavir, is set to ease after the Government recently received supplies enough to last for the next five months. The drug contained in 5 294 packs is now stocked at Natpharm. Global Fund national co-ordinator Mr Rangarirai Chiteure confirmed the latest development and said the drugs were received on September 13.
“This consignment consists of a five-month buffer,” Mr Chiteure said. “A further 9 760 packs of the same drug are expected at the end of the month.”
Abacavir is a second line drug used for management of HIV and of late the drug has been used as both a first line and a second line drug exerting more pressure on national stocks.
This resulted in shortages throughout the country with patients given three-day supplies in an effort to manage the little that were available.
The drugs were procured by UNDP on behalf of the country with funding availed by the Global Fund to Fight Aids Tuberculosis and Malaria. According to UNDP, these drugs were supposed to arrive in the country later in October by sea freight but had to be airlifted as a contingency measure to curb the effects of the crisis.
Head of Aids and Tuberculosis Unit Dr Owen Mugurungi said realising the crisis, Government had to ask the National Aids Council to chip in with financial resources to procure drugs while awaiting UNDP’s consignment.