ARVs shortage hits Zim

Zimbabwe is facing a shortage of critical antiretroviral drugs due to reduced global production and delayed shipments from suppliers due to the global Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

The Ministry of Health and Child Care has since advised that patients on Atazanavir/ritonavir (ATV/r) treatment should be given one month’s supplies until stocks improve.

In 2016, MOHCC launched Antiretro Viral Therapy (ART) national guidelines and these guidelines recommend the use of Atazanavir/ritonavir (ATV/r) 300mg/100mg to adolescents and adults on second-line ART.

 “This circular serves to notify you that we are experiencing a national shortage of ATV/r, due to reduced global production and shipments from suppliers as a result of the global COVID-19 lockdown restrictions,” the acting permanent secretary, Dr Gibson Mhlanga said in a circular to the country`s health officials.

Dr Mhlanga added: “Patients on ATV/r 300mg/100mg should be given up to one month of supplies until the situation improves. The district and provincial pharmacy managers to actively support stock management.”

He further advised that “If ATV/r 300mg/100mg is no longer available, in consultation with the district and provincial pharmacy manager, it should be temporarily substituted with DTG 50 mg, until ATV/r becomes available.”

“Please note that the Lopinavir/ritonavir is not a viable substitute for Atazanavir/ritonavir as there are no sufficient quantities in the country to cover the gap,” he warned.

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