Zim runs out of TB drugs

HARARE - Zimbabwe is running out of stocks of fixed dose combinations (FDC) drugs for the intensive phase of treatment of tuberculosis (TB).

According to a statement by the ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC), the drugs in shortage are those used in the first two months of TB treatment.

TB treatment comes in single formulation, that is, each medicine on its own and fixed dose medication tablets which are several medicines in one tablet — however all are imported.

The shortage comes as Zimbabwe has in the past had major shortages of painkillers prompting hospitals to cease surgical operations save for childbirth and emergencies.

“The name of the FDC tablet is Rifampicin/Isoniazid/Pyrazinamide/Ethambutol (FDC-RHZE). The main reason for the low availability status of FDC-RHZE has been delays in delivery of the commodity from our regular international supplier, the Global Drug Facility (GDF).

“Measures have been initiated by the GDF to fulfil our delayed order and a shipment is expected to arrive in the country on August 26 in partial fulfilment of that order,” MoHCC said.

They added that to mitigate the shortages and ensure continuous access to treatment for patients the directorate of Pharmacy Services has coordinated to restock centre in critical need with stocks from centres were there are no patients taking the drugs.

The ministry also said as an additional measure guidance has also been provided to all health facilities to combine single dose formulation medicines to constitute the four drug RHZE combination.

They said the combination for the intensive phase of treatment will unfortunately mean that patients will have an increased pill burden.

“The ministry has received some bridging relief supplies from one local partner Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF) and this stock was quickly dispatched to health facilities on August 16. We expect significant deliveries of the commodity into the country before the end of August.

“The ministry has allocated an additional $500 000 from the Health Levy towards building an additional buffer supply of anti-TB medicines,” the MoHCC said.

Failure to access TB drugs by its patients might result in them developing drug resistant TB, which is more difficult to treat.

Comments (1)

While zanupf is reported to reward its wining MPs with a whooping $13,000.00 cash each as thank you for wining the July 30 election. But nothing to those who voted them in, most of whom urgently require those TB drugs.

Sinyo - 27 August 2018

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