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Natpharm Taken To Task For Denying ARV Shortages

Natpharm officials yesterday endured a torrid time before the parliamentary committee on HIV and Aids over claims they made that the country had enough drug stocks.

This is despite the fact that most health centres were experiencing serious shortage of drugs with people on Antiretroviral treatment getting a 10-14 day suppy instead of the standard three to four months.

While giving oral evidence before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on HIV and AIDS, Natpharm Operations Manager, Charles Mwaramba said at the time the Zimbabwe AIDS Network (ZAN) handed over a petition against ARV shortage in June, they were 100 percent stocked.

“Our catalog, suppose we have 700 medicines, if we can get only 200 then it means all other medicines outside the 200 become a shortage. For ARVs , May to June we had stocked up to 100% in those 12 that we had selected not all the medicines. we had 12 out of 12,” said Mwaramba.

This did not go down well with the senators who recently toured the local hospitals and witnessed the unfolding situation with patients being given 10-14 day supply of tablets.

The senators reminded Mwaramba that he was speaking under oath and that issues discussed in the Parliament were to be taken very seriously.

“We are here to help the government push for funds NAC should not say everything is ok. We are experiencing a shortage and it should be taken seriously. That is why we are here,” Midlands Senator Lilian Timveos said.

The Executive Secretary for Zimbabwe Country Coordinating Mechanism for Global Fund, Mr Oscar Mundinda highlighted that the country will run into a shortage in the future.

He also dismissed that failure of the government to pay its commitment to Global Fund does not affect the supply of ARVs but said the problem will catch on the country later.

“We cannot have more people queuing at the outpatients department, people cannot be receiving 2 weeks supply, that is a crisis. Normal situation is when people receive 3-4 months supply of medicine, hence the country is in crisis,” said Mundinda.

He further highlighted that people living with HIV were not getting the second line drug as the National Aids Council is experiencing difficulties in acquiring foreign currency.

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