Zimbabwe is currently facing low stock levels of second line ARV drug Abacavir. According to reports, sero-positive people who are taking Abacavir are being given a week’s supply of the drug instead of the traditional three months. Reports of shortages of life-saving second line anti-retroviral drugs in the country’s public health institutions pose serious health implications for people taking that treatment.
Abacavir is one of the commonly used ARVs for management of people who would have failed or reacted to the first line drugs. About 35 000 people are on second line ARV’s in the country and are affected by the shortages.
One of the major constraints to procurement in 2017 has been the availability of foreign currency to buy ARVs. There are also shortages due to losses from supplies that have been obtained. This occurs when drugs expire or are stolen.
It has been reported that the government is expecting to replenish stocks towards month end. An expected 26 300 bottles of Abacavir are expected.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Child Care Dr Gerald Gwinji said people on ARV will be getting at least a month’s supply of the drug.