Ministry allays HIV drug shortage fears
Thandeka Moyo, Health Reporter
THE Ministry of Health and Child Care has allayed fears of a shortage of Nevirapine saying the country has enough stocks to last for nine and a half months.
Nevirapine is syrup given to babies born from HIV positive mothers within 72 hours of birth to reduce the risk of contracting the disease from their mothers.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Retired Major General Dr Gerald Gwinji, yesterday said there were nationwide supplies to cater for all women.
“We did have some challenges in some institutions where women failed to access Nevirapine recently. However, as it stands, we have supplies that will last us for nine and a half months,” said Dr Gwinji.
Last week, some women were asked to buy the medication after being told it was in short supply at public health institutions.
In public health institutions, Nevirapine for neonates is given free of charge, but in the private sector it costs an average of $20.
The Ministry recently launched the five-year Elimination of Mother to Child Transmission (EMTCT) plan which seeks to galvanise support towards the last mile for elimination of mother to child transmission of both HIV and syphilis.
Since its inception in 1999, the programme (prevention of mother-to-child-transmission PMTCT) has averted thousands of new HIV infections in new born babies.
Zimbabwe has been implementing activities targeted towards elimination of new HIV infections among children and keeping mothers alive since 1999.
According to the 2016 Sadc Gender Protocol Barometer, Zimbabwe reached and exceeded 50 percent by last year, which was part of the 17 targets given to every country in the region.
The country is rolling out Option B+ whereby HIV-positive mothers will receive antiretroviral drugs for life. This is in line with the most recent World Health Organisation treatment guidelines – a promising move for Zimbabwe’s HIV response.